Rev. Monsignor Gerard Finegan moved spirit in Sarasota, Longboat Key

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Rev. Monsignor Gerard “Gerry” Finegan had a singular and indelible quality: he had the ability to move and emotionally connect with everyone with whom he spoke. 

In many ways, a lifetime of priesthood is just that: whether moving an entire congregation or consoling an individual during one of life’s darkest hours, the ability to be completely present is paramount.

Rev. Finegan was known for just that. In fact, he spent 52 years primarily on Longboat Key and Sarasota serving generations of church goers.

Rev. Finegan served most recently as pastor of St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Parish on Longboat Key from June 2008, until he retired last November. He died last Monday evening surrounded by family and friends in the church rectory at age 77.

Rev. Finegan was ordained in the same town he was born, Caven, Ireland. He joined the priesthood on June 18, 1967, at St. Patrick’s and Felim’s Cathedral and soon after was sent to the United States to serve in several Florida settings.

He started in the St. Augustine Diocese, went on to serve as chaplain at Clearwater Catholic High School and Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota, while also serving at parishes in Safety Harbor and Largo. It was in Sarasota where he spent the majority of his priesthood.

Rev. Finegan served as pastor at Incarnation parish in Sarasota from 1976 to 2008. He had a tremendous impact on generations of Sarasotans and served as pastor alone for more than 30 years. He presided over countless marriages, funerals and baptisms and counseled thousands throughout the decades.

In June 2008, he came to Longboat Key as pastor of St. Mary’s Star of the Sea where he continued until his November 2019 retirement. On Longboat as well, he was sought out for blessings and was known for his ability to listen completely undivided and without distraction.

Rev. Finegan is survived by his sisters: Mary Tunney, Aine Connolly, Catherine O’Leary, Brigid Duffy, Josephine Finegan, six nephews, six nieces, 16 grandnephews and 9 grandnieces.

Visitation was held Thursday at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea on Longboat Key and Mass of the Christian Burial was held on Friday at Incarnation Catholic Church in Sarasota as well as a Celebration of Life Ceremony at the Finegan Center. He will be cremated and his sisters will take his ashes back to Ireland.

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2 Responses for “Rev. Monsignor Gerard Finegan moved spirit in Sarasota, Longboat Key”

  1. Joshua Edery says:

    So sorry to hear about this!
    Joshua Edery

  2. Cheryl L. says:

    We are deeply saddened by the loss of Reverend “Father Gerry.” Monsignor Gerry like Reverend Edward Pick has been instrumental in the life of Saint Mary’s. His loss is a tremendous loss for the congregation and Longboat Key.

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