Meet Father Frank!March 29, 2023
The Barclay at SouthPark senior living community in Charlotte, and Briar Creek Health Center at The Barclay are justifiably proud of their very own celebrity resident. Father Frank O’Rourke, the well-known and much-beloved Catholic priest, is still, in retirement, serving others. O’Rourke, or Father Frank as he is affectionately known, moved to assisted living two years ago.
Every Sunday, about 25 residents in both independent and assisted living gather to participate in a Catholic Mass presided over by O’Rourke.
O’Rourke has been a priest for 47 years, the last 12 of which were at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Charlotte. After moving into the senior living community, he was interested in continuing to offer the Holy Sacrament to other residents who wanted to take part. “I felt I could serve the people here by saying Mass,” says O’Rourke.
The Barclay at SouthPark has a small chapel, but O’Rourke says the Mass in a larger common room to accommodate all who attend.
O’Rourke says offering the Mass on-site is a convenience for other residents who may have limited mobility. It’s also a comfort, particularly as new residents make their homes in the community and want to continue their regular, cherished activities, such as attending Mass.
When meeting other residents, O’Rourke doesn’t stand on ceremony. He usually introduces himself simply as Frank O’Rourke rather than as a Father. Nonetheless, he says word has gotten around that he is a priest, and he is eager to help other residents as needed. “I think they all know I’m a priest,” he says. “I think my presence is a comfort.”
O’Rourke sometimes counsels people when they are sick, grieving a death or have other needs– no matter what their religious affiliation is. “I’m available for any need that might arise,” he says. “I think there is a sense that I am here for all of them.”
Wendy Morgan, sales and marketing director for the Briar Creek Health Center at The Barclay, describes O’Rourke as very friendly and always willing to help others. After living so many years in Charlotte, he also has strong ties with the greater community and likes to introduce them to his home.
“He knows many people in the area,” Morgan says. “He often invites them to dine here. He’s very well-connected.”
Besides being able to share his home with guests and continue his Catholic ministry, O’Rourke enjoys being at The Barclay at SouthPark.
“I love living here,” he says. “All my needs are met. I like the staff and the residents. They’ve created such a nice community.”
The Barclay and Briar Creek are non-denominational and not affiliated with any specific religious group. Nevertheless, the residents of the community have many opportunities to fulfill their spiritual needs. Clergy from any denominations regularly visit the community and a weekly Shabbat service is hosted.
The Barclay at SouthPark and Briar Creek Health Center
The Barclay at SouthPark is a Life Plan Community located on a picturesque campus in Charlotte, North Carolina—named as one of “America’s 100 Best Places to Live” by ideal-LIVING Magazine and ranked as one of the “best places to retire in North Carolina” by U.S. News & World Report. Set on a wooded campus near the stately homes and gardens and the bustling shopping and dining of Charlotte’s SouthPark neighborhood, The Barclay offers independent living that supports a vibrant lifestyle for active seniors. Briar Creek Health Center, located onsite, offers assisted living, memory support, respite care, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing for both residents of The Barclay and the surrounding area, thus providing a complete continuum of care. The Barclay at SouthPark is owned and operated by Liberty Senior Living, LLC, a division of Liberty Healthcare Management that specializes in senior living and retirement communities. To learn more about Barclay at SouthPark, visit www.BarclayAtSouthPark.com To learn more about Liberty Senior Living and the communities they offer, please visit www.LibertySeniorLiving.com .