They thronged into Bruff church, Co Limerick, to pay their respects for “one of our own”, as local man Paul Dennehy explained.
More than 100 people gathered at St Peter and Paul’s Church to remember John F Kennedy, whose great-grandfather Thomas Fitzgerald emigrated from Bruff in 1852, carrying with him the family Bible.
That very Bible was used by Kennedy when taking his oath of office in 1961. In 1963, the US president visited Limerick, where more than 40 of his Bruff cousins caught a glimpse of him as he was paraded through the city.
Speaking at an anniversary Mass in Bruff yesterday, on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, Bishop of Limerick Dr Brendan Leahy told parishioners: “At today’s anniversary Mass we get a chance to do three things: 1) recall the past; 2) pray for the deceased; and 3) set the compass again in our own lives.”
The president’s great-grandfather’s sacramental details are to be found in Bruff’s parish’s records, which went on display at the town’s Thomas Fitzgerald Centre, opened by JFK’s daughter on her historic visit to Bruff last June.
John F Kennedy’s grandfather, John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, went on to become mayor of Boston in 1906, establishing what became one of the world’s most well-known political dynasties.