Father Leo O'Connor passes away

8 October 2012

Father Leo O'Connor, a priest of the Diocese for 60 years passed away peacefully at Nazareth House on Friday October 5th, 2012.

The Requiem Mass was celebrated by Bishop Barry at St Mary's Pro- Cathedral on Monday October 8th.

Bishop Barry in his homily gave an overview of Fr Leo's life...

"Leo Vincent O'Connor was born on 11 September, 1927 in the hospital at Waikari, North Canterbury.    His parents were Michael Joseph O'Connor and Mary Margaret O'Connor. There were two sisters in his family, Molly and Rosalia, and three brothers, Tom, Jack and Maurice.

Leo was educated at St. Joseph's Convent School, Rangiora, at Rangiora High School for one year, and at St. Bede's College, Christchurch. In 1946, he commenced his formation for the priesthood at Holy Cross College, Mosgiel, and was ordained to the priesthood by the Most Reverend Edward Michael Joyce, the Bishop of Christchurch, in the parish church of St. Mary and St. Francis de Sales, Rangiora, on 19 July 1952.

... For some years, he had been living in retirement at Nazareth House. His health deteriorated as he aged, but there have been stories exchanged by his priest friends and parishioners of his sporting activities over many years.  Tennis and golf were of his favourite recreations over many years – he was a member of the St. Bede's 1st XV in his school days.   West Coast appointments saw him drawn to deer shooting and he gave himself to these activities with the enthusiasm and seriousness that marked his life."

His appointments included:

Assistant Priest in:

Rangiora (1952), Cathedral Jan & Feb 1953, Greymouth (1953-57), Waimate (1957-59), Sockburn (1959-62) including chaplain to Wigram Airforce Base and Burnham Military Camp, Priest in charge Chatham Islands (1962), Sockburn (1963), Cathedral (1963)

Parish priest in:

Whataroa (1964), Pleasant Point (1968), Temuka (1973), Riccarton 1978 (Co-pastor 1979), Darfield (1983), Rangiora (1994-2003)

He retired in 2003, but for some years remained as Chaplain to the Legion of Mary and Chaplain to the Carmelite Sisters.


May he rest in peace