Rev. Charles Gorman

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Rev. Charles Gorman

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Father Charlie Gorman

Rev. Charles “Father Charlie” Gorman, 91 years of age, died on March 29, 2020, in Billings, after having served as a Catholic priest in eastern Montana for 66 years.

There will be a private graveside committal service at Holy Cross Cemetery; due to the COVID-19 quarantine, the Funeral Vigil and the Memorial Mass remain to be scheduled at a later date, both of which will be held at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Billings.

Father Gorman was born on Feb. 16, 1929, to Martin Gorman and Mary Ann Kirwan Gorman, in Moate, Ballinakill, County Laois, Ireland, the youngest of 12 children. He was raised on a farm where he worked all the chores with his family, attended Mass every Sunday and prayed the Rosary every evening. He attended grade school and high school in Ballinakill and then attended Knockbeg College. With the encouragement of Father Brennan, he enrolled in St. Patrick’s Seminary, Thurles, Ireland, in 1948, to prepare for priesthood. He was ordained to serve in the Diocese of Great Falls on June 6, 1954.

His first assignment was to serve at St. Joseph Parish in Great Falls for five years with Msgr. Treacy, a fellow Laois man. Also living in Great Falls was Patrick Mansfield (from the same village in Ireland), whose son Mike was the famous U.S. Senator from Montana. Father Gorman moved briefly to serve at Holy Rosary Parish in Billings, and then returned to St. Joseph’s in 1955. His role as an assistant priest continued with his assignment to St. Ann Cathedral in Great Falls in 1959. In September of 1959, he began to serve as administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Hysham, Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Pompey’s Pillar, and St. Mary Parish in Custer.

In 1967, he served briefly as administrator of Holy Family Parish in Great Falls, and then was elevated to pastor of that parish the following year. In 1975, he was granted a sabbatical leave for prayer and study at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, culminating with a 30-Day Retreat with Father Armand Nigro, S.J.

From 1976 to 1978, he served as pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Billings, and then moved to St. Francis Xavier Parish in Circle as administrator. In 1979, he returned to Billings to serve as co-pastor of St. Thomas Parish, as well as to provide leadership for the Newman Center at MSU Billings (formerly Eastern Montana College) and for the Sacred Heart Renewal Center. His next assignment was as pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Laurel, with duties as sacramental minister in the parishes in Bridger, Fromberg and Joliet.

He retired in March 1994, but remained very active in pastoral service, returning to Ireland to serve in his home parish. At times he would visit Alaska to fish and visit friends, but he also did parish work in different parishes there, and even started a women’s scripture study group, which continued for 22 years.

Since his health allowed continued activity, he was able to return to Montana to serve as administrator of St. Mary Parish in Columbus from 2000 to 2006, when he retired for a second time and moved to Westpark Village in Billings, where he truly enjoyed ministering to the residents.

Father Charlie is lovingly survived by many nieces and nephews, both in Ireland and in the USA.

Father Charlie always appreciated the loving presence of God and experienced it in all the people and places he ministered. He expressed his gratitude for his family in Ireland, the priests and bishops he worked with, and the people he served in Montana and Alaska. He believed in the goodness of people everywhere, and always preached the love of God for all.

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43 thoughts on “Rev. Charles Gorman”

  1. The world has lost a very special priest. He served the Cursillo community with a weekly Mass that brought joy to many of us. When ever he would see us, his standard question was “How’s your love life

  2. May Fr Charlie rest in peace. Always thought of fondly at home here in Ballinakill, Co Laois, Ireland.
    Deepest Sympathies to his family and friends, from the Brennan Family (Drimaterrill, Ballinakill).

  3. This is a great loss to the Catholic community. Father Charlie was a great priest and a very good man! He will be missed.

  4. Father Charlie encouraged us to pick the white dog over the black. This is especially important information during these difficult times. He will be missed.

  5. We lived across the street from the church in Laurel and our family has great memories with Father Charlie. He will be greatly missed.

  6. From Ballinakill to Boston, Billings, and Bishop’s Beach he taught us to witness and share God’s love. Thank you Fr. Charlie.

  7. You were a beautiful example of love to all who knew you. Thank you for all you shared with all of us. I hope you meet up with my precious Jim and share hugs and laughter! Love you Fr. Charlie

  8. Oh how he loved. Never too busy for anyone who asked for his help. Our family was impacted by Father Charlie in so many ways…He will be remembered always by all of us.
    The Roy and Leora Frickle family.

  9. Marjorie McClurg

    Father Charlie was so special to our family. He was a wonderful priest. Loved his potatoes and lamb dinners. Rest In Peace. Prayers to his family and friends in Ireland.

  10. Fr. Charlie was a great inspiration to me and my faith formation – in other words – my “Love Life with the Lord!” I will miss him terribly! The angels are singing with joy and gladness! God welcomes you to your heavenly home, great and faithful servant!

  11. Father Charley was a wonderful priest who I had the blessing of knowing both as a priest and a friend. When I told him I was no longer calling myself a Catholic, he asked,” But you still love Jesus?!!” When I assured him that I most certainly did, he visibly relaxed and said, “Then that’s all that matters!” He knew how to love as Jesus loves, for sure.

  12. LAURA L ODEGAARD

    We lost a special person in our Christian community. I’ll never forget how he impacted the Cursillo movement and not only talked about his love for Jesus, but truly lived it. “How’s your love life (with Jesus)?

  13. My family and I loved Father Charlie so much! I am so glad that even after he left Carbon County, he found time to stop in at our house in Fromberg! I cherished his visits with me at St. Francis Catholic School and at mass. He will be missed! “Don’t you know, God loves you, Charlie!”

  14. Father Charlie , you were wonderful. I only knew him a short time but he made such an impact. He was a blessing to our family when mom moved to West Park Village . Love you Fr Charlie !

  15. Tami Kelly Degele

    A wonderful priest. Always inspiring me to remember my relationship with God. Rest In Peace Father Charlie.

  16. Siobhan Haniffy Parsonage

    RIP Father Charlie and give my love to my Dad in heaven. You had a big impact on my spirituality and relationship with Jesus. I’ll never forget your constant question to me “How’s your love life (with Jesus)”. That always made me smile. You were always a joy to be around. I have fond memories of you coming over to my parents (Dr. Ignatius and Ethna Haniffy) home. Since my parents were also from Ireland we all could relate to you so easily. Thank you for your guidance and kindness. I’m sure you and Dad are up in heaven having some great laughs! 🙏🏻❤️

  17. Seems like no matter which generation he served, his famous,”Hows your love life”
    Resounded with everyone he ministered to. So many great memories through the Newman Center and the Sacred Heart Renewal Center in Biklings and later in Alaska as well! You were a faithful servant to God and you have earned your heavenly reward.

  18. The Gorman Family, Moate, Ballinakill, Laois, Ireland

    Jesus, Jesus, thanks Jesus
    Our beloved Uncle Charlie has gone to his eternal reward and he will be sadly missed by all his family and so many friends.
    Family and family life were everything to Charlie.
    In our young formative years as nieces and nephews, there was such excitement when he would arrive home for a month’s holiday and travel around to visit all the immediate and extended family households.
    Each time he had to return to the US, there was a huge gathering of all the families here in his homeplace, where he would say Mass and say his goodbyes, before making the long trip back to his second family – the people of the many parishes in which he served in Montana and, in later years, Alaska.

    It was the stories he told us about the lovely people and life in Montana that were amazing to us as children, especially the stories of the vastness of the prairies, and how farming was done.
    It was hard for us to imagine what it was like.
    However, over the past 40 years, a number of nieces & nephews made our way out to Montana to visit.
    It was really then that we began to appreciate the vastness of the country, and, more importantly, the level of your kindness towards Charlie and your high regard for his ministry.
    He lived in so many locations over his 66 years in the U.S.A. and loved them all.

    Our sincere thanks to the people of Montana for enabling and supporting Charlie to have led a happy, deeply spiritual and fulfilling life among you.
    It certainly means the world to us to know that he was cared for and loved, most especially in his failing years.
    We know that Charlie was blessed to have been wrapped in your kindness and prayers throughout his years with you and in his final months and weeks in this life.
    We have no doubt that this meant a lot to him.
    We thank God for the wonderful people who accompanied him in his final days.

    It saddens us that it was not possible for us to be with him at his passing, and that we are all excluded by world affairs at this time from being together to celebrate his great life as we would have wished.

    However, we know that he would want us all to continue to praise God every day, see what is good and wonderful around us, and be good to each other.

    God bless you Uncle Charlie and God bless all in Montana and Alaska

    From The Gorman Family, Moate, Ballinakill, Co. Laois, Ireland

    Let us not look for you only in memory,
    Where we would grow lonely without you.
    You would want us to find you in presence,
    Beside us when beauty brightens,
    When kindness glows
    And music echoes eternal tones.
    When orchids brighten the earth,
    Darkest winter has turned to spring;
    May this dark grief, flower with hope
    In every heart that loves you.
    May you continue to inspire us:
    To enter each day with a generous heart.
    To serve the call of courage and love
    Until we see your beautiful face again
    In that land where there is no more separation,
    Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
    And where we will never lose you again.
    John O Donohue

  19. Dear sweet Father Charlie. I will never forget your kindness to my family when my father passed, and when our mother passed, you were right there, mourning with us. Thank you so much for everything you have done. I will never forget your beautiful Irish brogue and absolutely gorgeous Irish tenor singing voice. I will never forget your hugs, and your words on encouragement. The image of your twinkling eyes and bright smile will be forever imprinted on my mind. Rest well, good and faithful servant. Please embrace my mother for me, as well as her sisters, as I know you knew them as well.

  20. Laura McDermott

    Uncle Charlie – the very best kind of Uncle

    A legacy like no other we have ever met, Uncle Charlie was a power house of positivity, love and heart.

    Uncle Charlie was a honey bunch and we will be forever gorgeous as he reminded us all every time we spoke.

    Lots of advice for life along the way, Uncle Charlie timed his advice in a clever humorous way. Questions were usually how it started including golden oldies like: what’s your love life like? Good you ought to respond because its very important to have a good relationship with God. This was at Charlie’s core, a loving man where God’s love guided him on his mission throughout life. Charlie radiated God’s love for everybody.

    Another important question was, do you know the difference between men and women for when us grand nieces and nephews were getting married? Well, he says, the thing is, he is a man and you are a woman…very different species and it’s important to remember that!

    My favourite advice from Uncle Charlie is to make sure that I am told I am gorgeous everyday and to be sure I have hugs until I’m full. He gave the very best squeezey hugs that I will always remember.

    Charlie is a family man and would know every single niece, nephew, grand niece, grand nephew and great grand niece and nephews, in-laws, outlaws and the rest. He often recited stories of old, family tales and told me about all my cousins which are abundant in Ireland! You know who you are, Charlie knows who you are!

    If you are to live on this earth, live it with purpose, live it with joy and gratitude and most of all live with kindness. Charlie represents everything good in this world so hold onto his light and let it shine brightly.

    Laura Phelan, Galway, Ireland

  21. Michael H Cherne

    Each time I attend Mass Charlie’s prayer is on my mind during the consecration, “jesus, Jesus, Jesus” What a perfect prayer. And, it will live with me as his memory will.

  22. Father Charlie was my favorite priest who gave the best hugs and made you feel special. I always looked forward to his sermons in Laurel and serving with him in various church committees. He always remembered your name and concerned about your love life with Jesus and your personal life. I am grateful for his love and kindness teaching us to never refuse the body of Christ. “Well done ,well done my good and faithful one.”

  23. Sheila & Jack Giesler

    My husband, Jack and I , Jack and Ann Gannon, and Larry and Judy Ginnaty, and Fr. Charlie served on a marriage Encounter team for several years in Great Falls. Charlie became like a mmember of our combined families, and we lovingly referred to our team as “The Five G’s”-Ginnatys, Ganons, Gieslers, Gorman, and God! We had so many good times, and gained so much learning from his loving nature. He was a favorite of folks of all ages. I remember how he would embarrass young teens by asking them to “Tell me about your love affairs,” and after smiling at their red faces and stumbling words, Charlie would add, “I mean your love affair with God!” For Charlie the love affair with God went on through his life! I remember when our 18 year old daughter, Treacy,(named after Fr. Patrick Treacy) died of brain cancer, and Charlie made a special trip form Billings to Great Falls, to spend time with us. We thank God for the presence of Charlie in our lives.

  24. Janet Middleton

    Ahhhhh Fr Charlie. What a blessing. I promise to always look for God in everything, to keep my love life with the Lord a priority and to mind myself! My friend, mentor, brother. You will be greatly missed.

  25. Jimmy Delahunty, (Fr. Charlie’s eldest nephew), Kilkenny, Ireland

    I was at his ordination in 1954, served mass for him and was in Cobh, Co. Cork the day he sailed to the USA, a sailing that took 7 days back then. Many many tears were shed that day both in Moate and Cobh.
    Fr. Charlie or Uncle Charlie as he was known to us all absolutely loved his native Moate, Ballinakill. He was the link in all the family – if we needed to know anything Charlie was the man! We all looked up to Uncle Charlie, he was a steady hand with us in happy times but more especially in times of sadness when we needed his support most.
    He was a keen fisherman, we fished together in many rivers in Montana & Alaska. He loved the horse racing and having a bet but most of all he loved & obeyed his maker. Charlie was truly a man of God and anyone who had the privilege of knowing him will agree to that.
    It is regrettable at this very sad time for us all that we are unable to travel to attend his funeral but hopefully through his intercession with the Lord we will come safely through these difficult & challenging times (Covid-19).
    The final chapter has come down on a wonderful man who gave his life to the Lord and helping others.
    Jesus Jesus must surely have said well done my good and faithful servant.
    Rest in Peace Charlie.

    “Out out brief candle
    Life is but a walking shadow
    A poor player that struts and
    Frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more” W.S.

  26. Father Charlie was the perfect parish priest. He was a very warm-hearted priest, and guided many of us to a closer encounter with Jesus. You will be missed by so many!

  27. Fr. Greg Blevins

    No priest could wish for more at his passing than such wonderful tributes from those whose lives he has touched.

    Go with God, Fr. Charlie. May you rest in peace, and may the angels greet you and lead you into the heavenly Jerusalem. May your memory be eternal.

    Fr. Gregory Ned Blevins
    Summerville SC (formerly of Scobey, Montana)
    Ecumenical and Social Concerns Representative
    Antiochian Catholic Church in America, an independent Indo-Syriac Orthodox Church

  28. Darlene Dibble

    I met Father Gorman many years ago when he first came to St. Thomas. I had rented a place near the church. It was a dark period for me and my girls ages 3 and 6. I didn’t know him but everytime he’d see me and the girls walking he’d stop the car in the middle of the road, run out, give them a hug and tell them they were wonderful. Lifted their spirits. They loved him, actually we all did.You never left being with him without being told how much Jesus loved us.

    He had a brilliant mind and memory even at 91. We are very saddened by his death.He always had time for a cup of tea, a chat,dinner and a prayer. He was a great Priest, man, and friend. He will be dearly missed.

  29. Gilbert Tauscher

    I first met Father Charlie when he was pastor at St. Pius X in Billings. He was always a friend to all and willing to help where needed, giving sound counsel when necessary. If he was available, he always made time to spend a few precious moments with the men and women attending a Cursillo/Cum Christo weekend. GOD BLESS, Father Charlie, you will be missed.

  30. Mary Delaney’s

    Fr Charlie Gorman R.I.P
    Instead of Uncle Charlie been with us on earth he is now in heaven where he will continue to pray for us all.In heaven he is reunited with lots of people he loved here on earth
    Through the years he loved going home to Ireland to visit his family but he also equally loved Montana.He had spent 60 years in America. As I said to some of his friends in his home in West Park Village Billings he loved Montana and it’s people His wishes were to be laid to rest along side his fellow Priest’s
    To his friends in Alaska
    He made many friends in Alaska and was in great contact with you through the years He would often talk to me about you all
    The prayer group was so special to him
    Continue to pray the words Jesus,Jesus thanks Jesus Pray for us Jesus
    It is now Uncle Charlie time to rest after his long journey here on earth doing good
    Uncle Charlie “Go catch the big one in heaven’s river “
    Mary his niece from NYC

  31. Father Gorman was a guiding light and close friend of our family for many years. He will be dearly missed and always in our heart.

  32. Everyone who has ever known Fr. Gorman has special heartfelt memories of this sweet man. Oh, how we loved him – and always will! Fr. Gorman, thank you for being the shining light when we moved from a home we loved to another where we lived for 16 years. Your kindness will never be forgotten! Love, the Wokich Family

  33. Goodbye uncle Charlie. We remember your kindness as children and your guidance as adults. You could lift mountain with your simple love of Jesus. Your preaching really made sense and convinced everyone of the existence of god.
    You made confession so easy by forgiving all our sins even ones we didnt yet commit. We will all miss our personal conversations with you, your ability to fill us on all the news in the wider family. You kept distant cousins in touch and taught us the validity of family.
    Your high regard for people showed in the love you displayed. You loved women in particular and often spoke up on their behalf especially mums. Your response to praising the lord was always and praise HER again.
    We miss you but are convinced we will all meet again.
    Jesus Jesus thanks Jesus for uncle Charlie. Anne and Charlie Phelan Ireland.

  34. Fr. Gorman’s loving way of spreading God’s love will live on earth for eternity with a big smile and kind words. We thank him by doing the same the best we can. He was around our family much in early in my life in Great Falls and at the Newman Center when I attended Eastern in Billings. He was there for my Mother, Dixie Boland, daily mass and lunch at St. Pats during the times she was hospitalized there. He even attended an ethics meeting regarding the push by some medical and family members to end Mom’s life. We loved to visit him at the Villages in BIllings or bump into him at Mass at St. Thomas. Charlie was good friends with my Father, Ed Boland, uncle Dick Boland and uncle John Boland. Fr. Bill Hogan (close friend of Charlie) and I will miss the updates and literature on current breading of the horses in Ireland and big races in Ireland and England. How’s your love life?………………with Jesus? Paul Edward Boland

  35. Troy Zickefoose

    Having been out of Montana for some years I did not realize that Father Charlie had passed on to live with the Lord. At a moment of doubt and struggle I googled his name to find he had left us. Father Charlie, you words and kindness will stay with me until we meet again.

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