“I wish I could shake your hands and say goodbye but I can’t. I don’t have the energy anymore” said a parish priest with incurable cancer who issued an emotional online farewell to his parishioners yesterday.
Fr Gerard Galvin, who has served as the parish priest of Muintir Bhaire in West Cork since 2009, held back tears as he recalled his tenure in the parish, said thanks, and asked for prayers as he retired from official duty.
His retirement was officially announced by the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Fintan Gavin, last week, with Canon Martin O’Driscoll announced as the administrator of Muintir Bháire and parish priest of Bantry.
In an emotional online video, Fr Galvin said he had incurable cancer in his bones and lungs.
During a poignant online address, Fr Galvin recalled the many events that occurred during his 12 years serving in Muintir Bhaire which has three main centres of population in Durrus, Ahakista, and Kilcrohane.
Fr Galvin recalled the joy of communions, confirmations, weddings, baptisms while he also encountered the sorrow of funerals and the heartbreak of people’s deaths. “I tried my best to do the best I could for people in need. I had great laughs as well. We had coffee days and coffee mornings.
"Together as a community, we learned an awful lot from one another. I learned about the strength of faith in the community. I learned in the parish to say thank you. I learned from the children in the local school who could be great craic. Their endless ability to surprise me is a wonderful thing.”
During an emotionally charged online video, Fr Galvin paid a special thanks to the parishioners.
“You have supported me in ways and means that I will never forget. Your prayers have given me the gift of healing and have helped me.”
A defiant Fr Galvin said ‘cancer will not be my life’.
Fr Galvin said he has made mistakes as ‘no one in life is perfect’.
“I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes. I have never set out to deliberately hurt anybody or offend anybody, but I know I have done all those things. I now want to apologise to those people whom I disappointed, upset, or let down in any way. I hope that someday you can forgive me for my failures or any hurt I may have caused you,” he added.
He revealed that he is suffering from a lot of pain at present.
“My shoulder is very sore. My lungs are very sore. Sleeping is very difficult. I know that Jesus is looking after and caring for me. I wish it wasn’t like this. I wish I could shake your hands and say goodbye but I can’t. I don’t have the energy anymore.”
Fr Galvin concluded his emotional address with one final request of his parishioners. “I will treasure your prayers. I will never forget the people of Muintir Bhaire, the people of my parish. God bless you and thank you,” he said.
Speaking to, a spokesperson for the diocese said: “Fr Ger Galvin has asked parishioners and friends for prayerful support for him. Bishop Fintan supports Fr Ger’s request for prayers for him and for all who are carrying the burden of sickness at this time.”