A popular priest, who spent most of his formative years in Killarney and has been pastor of St Barnabas Parish in the Bronx, New York since 2016, has been appointed to lead the bustling Irish-American community for another six-year term.
Since 2016, Fr Brendan Fitzgerald, who grew up at Park Drive, Killarney, had led the largest Irish parish in the US as well as heading the bustling North East Bronx Deanery and being chaplain to the New York Fire Department.
In the official letter confirming that he has been chosen to remain in the parish until 2028, Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, praised Fr Brendan for offering sensitive pastoral care to meet the spiritual and communal needs of his parishioners.
He said Fr Brendan and his staff can look forward to the next six years with even greater enthusiasm as they build on the good work they have already accomplished.
In a message on social media, Fr Brendan said he is very grateful to have his term as pastor extended and he thanked the community for their support and encouragement.
“My love for St Barnabas and the people of our community is beyond measure,” he remarked.
Fr Brendan was chosen as Kerryman of the Year in 2019 by the Kerry Association in the Big Apple.
His popularity in the city and his great work with the Irish community was formally recognised by the Kerrymen’s Patriotic and Benevolent Association, of which he is chaplain, at the organisation’s 51st annual dinner dance in Kerry Hall.
The award citation read that Fr Brendan was loved and respected for his humour, warmth and true embodiment of Christian love and charity.
Although born in the US, Brendan grew up in Killarney where his family lived for several years before returning to New York. He went to school in Killarney and he was ordained in St John’s Cathedral in Limerick, in 2006, before he moved back to America.
His mum, Esther (nee Ahern) is originally from Park Road and his dad, Denis, is a native of Knocknagoshel. They run the landmark Fitzgerald’s Pub on 3rd Avenue in New York.
Fr Brendan also had the honour of officially welcoming, President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, to his parish in the Bronx during his State visit to the US in 2018.
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