Father O’Rourke served Korean Catholics in South Korea and in the Omaha archdiocese

Columban Father Charles O’Rourke, who served 25 years as a missionary in South Korea, died Nov. 6 in Papillion. He was 90.

A funeral Mass was offered Nov. 11 at St. Mary Church in Bellevue with inurnment Nov. 13 at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Omaha.

Born in Missouri Valley, Iowa, he joined the Columban community during high school at St. Columban’s Seminary in Silver Creek, New York. He then attended St. Columban’s Major Seminary in Milton, Massachusetts, and was ordained a priest there in 1957.

The next year, Father O’Rourke began missionary work in South Korea where he served until 1985, except a period from 1970 to 1972 when he was vocations director at the Columban community in Derby, New York.

Upon his return to the United States in 1985, he ministered to Catholic Korean communities in Chicago from 1985 to 1993 and Los Angeles from 1993 to 2004. He joined the Columban Fathers community in Bellevue in 2004 as house bursar and continued serving Korean Catholics in the Omaha area. He retired in 2017.

Father O’Rourke was preceded in death by parents, Charles and Mary (Walsh) O’Rourke; brothers, James, Donald (Shirley) O’Rourke; sisters, Mary, Patricia (Victor Don Shea) and Irene (Francis) Green; and brother-in-law Gerald Gubbels. He is survived by two sisters, Rita Gubbels and Sister Jeanne O’Rourke, RSM, of Omaha; and many nieces and nephews.

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