Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Priest gets home in time for his niece's wedding

AN Irish-born priest was back home just in time for his niece's wedding at the weekend following an eleventh-hour change of heart by US Immigration.

Fr Cathal Gallagher, who has been based in South Dakota for 10 years, got word that he was to receive a green card just last month after it emerged weeks earlier that he was "out of status" and faced deportation.

And the first thing he did was purchase a ticket to Ireland to attend the wedding of his niece, TG4 presenter Aine Ni Gallachoir, to Patrick Duffy in Gortahork, Co Donegal, on Saturday.

Yesterday, a jubilant Fr Gallagher described the event as "nothing short of perfect".

"I never even considered the possibility of being able to attend the wedding because of my status in the US," he said. "I had even made plans to meet the couple in Las Vegas on their honeymoon, but when my world changed everything became possible."

Fr Gallagher said he had been overwhelmed by the strength of support from his former parishioners in De Smet, South Dakota, who orchestrated a huge national campaign to keep him when it emerged he had fallen out of status last May.

Since then, his bishop has found a replacement for him in that parish and he is still uncertain as to where he will be posted.

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(Source: II)

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