TO THE LATE
BISHOP FRANCIS GERARD BROOKS
I first came to know Bishop Francis Gerard Brooks around 1975. He was then President of St Coleman’s College, Newry – where his many fine administrative qualities served him admirably. He had earlier been appointed President by Bishop Eugene O’Doherty after many years of dedicated teaching.
I always found Bishop Brooks to be a very cordial and warm person. He was kind and interested in people’s stories and history. He was also an engaging person who loved to meet people with links to the Diocese of Dromore.
An avid reader, on a variety of subjects, he had a particular interest in the history of his own diocese.
Bishop Brooks loved his vocation as a priest. This was never more apparent than when he was celebrating the Eucharist and preaching the Word of God. He believed firmly in the power of prayer.
Bishop Brooks had a great devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes and he enjoyed leading the Annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. There he would spend a lot of time with the sick and the assisted pilgrims. Two years ago he made his last pilgrimage to Lourdes which he really enjoyed despite his failing health. In fact, ministering to the sick was an outstanding part of Bishop Brooks’ ministry. He gave great emphasis to the care of the sick – it was very much a feature of his preaching, especially at priestly ordinations.
Bishop Brooks worked for many years as Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee of the Irish Episcopal Conference up to his retirement in 1999. In this capacity he was a diligent and conscientious servant of the Conference. His excellent understanding of finance and administration was a valuable asset in the efficient functioning of the Conference. He oversaw the transfer of the staff and offices of the agencies and commissions of the Conference to Maynooth and he did so with grace and sensitivity.
Bishop Brooks was very close to his brother, Brian with whom he lived after retirement. He was very dedicated also to his nephews and nieces who cared for him with wonderful devotion and attention and to them and his extended family, I offer my sympathy.
May his soul, and the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.