Fr Cathal Vincent Gallagher

Dec 7, 2023

Cathal Gallagher was born on 23rd July 1951 in Garrison, Co Fermanagh. He was educated at Devenish PS, at St Michael´s Grammar School, Enniskillen, and at Queen´s University, Belfast before he joined An Garda Síochána in 1970. Cathal served as a Garda in Navan before joining the Columbans in 1973.

He did Overseas Training in both Chile and Peru. Ordained on 7th April 1985, he was appointed to Peru. After language study he served in Parroquia Virgen de la Providencia, also in Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Paz. He was pastor of Parroquias Jesús Resucitado and Virgen Medianera.

He became Director of Peru Region in 1998. In 2002, he began studies in psychotherapy and obtained a Graduate Diploma in Advanced Psychodynamic Counselling at the Westminster Pastoral Foundation in Kensington, London. During his years of study he worked in the parish of St Francis de Sales and St Gertrude in Stockwell, part of Southwark Diocese.

Following his studies he returned to Peru. He began his ministry with those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. He founded the Si Da Vida organisation, an important care centre for recuperation, education and leadership-formation through shared reflection in workshops run by skilled professional educators and medical personnel.

With the amalgamation of the Columban Regions of Peru and Chile, Cathal served as the first Director of the newly created Region of South America. Following his term as Director and a holiday at home, Cathal returned to Peru in July 2023.

The Bishop of Carabayllo asked Cathal to begin a new ministry of working with religious in the diocese. He had barely begun this work when he became ill and was diagnosed with internal haemorrhage caused by an aneurism. He died on the morning of Tuesday 28 November 2023 in Lima.

Large crowds gathered at both the wake and the funeral expressing deep appreciation for his commitment to the people of Peru and what he had given throughout his ministry.

The funeral Mass was celebrated by Mgr Nery Menor OFM, Bishop of Carabayllo Diocese and the burial took place in the Columban plot in Puente Piedra Cemetery.

Cathal was a cheerful, dedicated missionary and a very competent administrator. He will be deeply missed by his many friends.

May he rest in peace.

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