BRISTOL — Columban Father Paul J. O’Rourke, 74, died October 28 at Silver Creek Nursing Home.
Born in Providence, he was the son of the late Hugh and Alice (Woodcock) O’Rourke.
He graduated from La Salle Academy and Providence College before entering St. Columban’s Seminary, Milton, MA in 1955. He continued his studies at the Columban Seminary, Bristol, and Dalgan Park, Ireland, before being ordained to the priesthood in Milton.
Father O’Rourke began his missionary service in the Philippines in 1962, and later served as mission coordinator in Jamaica, on the formation staff of St. Thomas College, St. Paul, MN, and at St. Edward Church in Seattle, WA. He was then assigned to minister to the Hispanic community at Immaculate Conception Church, Alamogado, NM, and later served as Superior of the Columban residence in Kew Gardens, NY.
In September 1999, Father O’Rourke returned to the Columban Fathers Retirement Home in Bristol, and assisted at many parishes in the Diocese of Providence, including St. Mary of the Bay Church, Warren; St. Francis of Assisi Church, Wakefield; and St. Catherine Church, Little Compton.
Father O’Rourke served as a chaplain with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam, and was seriously injured in a land mine explosion on April 1,1969. He was transferred from a Vietnam hospital to Yokusaka Naval Hospital in Japan and later to the Naval Hospital in Boston, MA.
Father O’Rourke was the brother of the late Columban Father Hugh O’Rourke, Patricia O’Rourke McGirr and Maureen O’Rourke Horne. He is survived by a sister, Columban Sister Claire O’Rourke of Brighton, MA: and by several nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated November 1 at the Columban Fathers Retirement Home, Bristol. Burial was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Providence.