Fr Michael Gleeson (right) pictured with his brother Fr Padraig at the Papal visit in the Phoenix Park in September.
Fr Michael Gleeson was based in California throughout his ministry.
There is widespread regret and sadness this week at the news of the passing of Thurles native, 72 year old Fr Michael Gleeson, who died in California on New Years Day after a short illness.
A former printer in The Tipperary Star, Fr Michael entered the seminary in St Patrick's College in the late sixties having served his time and qualified as a commercial printer. However, his life took a different road and he was ordained for the diocese of Los Angeles in the Cathedral of the Assumption in a class of fourteen on June 1st 1975 - he was welcomed to Los Angeles by two former St Pat's men, Fr Con Shine and Fr Justin McCarthy and had little difficulty in adjusting to his new post in the US.
Fr Michael was a regular visitor home to Thurles and was here only last September for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland. He had also been in Thurles in August 2015 when 150 past students from St Patricks College attended a major week long reunion.
Fr Michael Gleeson, who will be laid to rest on Saturday.
The priests, had gathered in the town for the tenth such gathering of former students between 11-13 August. With upwards of 500 priests from St Patrick’s College ministering throughout the English-speaking world the gathering was a very international affair.
Interestingly for the first time ever, former students who did not reach ordination had also been invited back to the College, with some men who studied there as far back as 1965 returning. And,the highlight of the international reunion was a concelebrated Mass in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles with the main celebrant Archbishop of Cashel &Emly, Dr Kieran O’Reilly SMA, who was joined by the retired Archbishop, Dr Dermot Clifford, and the retired Bishop of Waterford & Lismore, Dr William Lee, who is a former president of the College. Fr Michael was privileged and honoured to have delivered the keynote homily on that day as he celebrated 40 years of priesthood and spoke with great clarity, courage and purpose in the Cathedral in which he was ordained.
His appointments in LA included: St. Monica, Santa Monica Sept. 1975-June 1979; St. Joseph, Long Beach July 1979-June 1984; St. Paul High School August 1984-June 1986; St. Joseph, Long Beach March 1986-February 1987; St. Emydius, Lynwood Sept. 1987-June 1988; Our Lady of Guadalupe, ELA July 1988-June 1989; Holy Innocents, Long Beach July 1989-March 1995; St. Anthony, San Gabriel March 1995-June 2006; and St. Cornelius, Long Beach July 2006 up to the time of his death.
Very warm tributes have been paid to Fr Michael by parishioners in LA ahead of his Requiem Mass on Saturday next. He was totally immersed in the communities her served and was held in the highest of esteem by all.
Fr Michael, who lost his sister Joan in 1996, is survived by his brothers Fr Padraig, Tomás, Liam and Joe; sisters Biddy (Comerford, Loughtagalla) and Mary; nieces, nephews, relatives and many true friends.
A proud son of Thurles, may he rest peacefully in the Heaven he strived for.