Fr Gerald Joseph French

Dec 15, 2023

Gerald (‘Gerry’) Joseph French was born on 6 August 1937 in Mayo Abbey, Co Mayo. He was educated in Facefield NS and St Colman’s College, Claremorris. He came to Dalgan in September 1956 and was ordained priest on 21 December 1962.

He was appointed to Korea, to Chunchon Diocese in 1963 where he worked until 1970 apart from a year studying CCD in St Louis, USA. He was then assigned to promotion ministry in England from 1970 followed a period in Hotels Chaplaincy up to the end of 1984.

From 1984 to 1987 Gerry was Chaplain to the Youth Rehabilitation Centre in Rush, Co Dublin and was also involved in counselling and formation ministry at the Conference of Major Superiors Programme in Dublin over the next twenty years.

He spent two years as a Lecturer in Theology at the Milltown Institute from 1994-1996. Then followed a period of five years back in Britain as Director of the Irish Immigrant Chaplaincy before a final move back to Ireland for parish ministry and later to St Joseph’s Parish, Ballymun.

He continued to be a member of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants and the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas.

Gerry was interested in people wherever he met them and he never stopped studying human behaviour: he studied Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at Dublin, Education in Boston, Group Therapy at London’s Tavistock Institute, and Ministry at All Hallows.

He shared his learning in BA and MA courses at the Dublin School of Psychotherapy, at the Irish Group Relations Organisation, and the Religious Formation Ministry in Dublin as long as his health permitted, even by Zoom during the Covid years.

Gerry’s interest in people was extraordinary: not only did he remember people’s names, but he could also name their relatives for several generations.

In England and later in Ireland he helped a vast number of people, offering an always sympathetic ear and often helping them to find work through his multiple connections.

He loved Gaelic football and followed the game at all levels. He was sympathetic, empathetic and curious to learn about people right to the end. Gerry died on 12th December 2023 at the Mater Hospital, Dublin. May the Lord reward his endless labours on behalf of others.

May he rest in peace.

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