Solano County

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The Rev. J. G. Rourke, rector of the Roman Catholic parish of St. Vincent Ferrer at Vallejo and one of the most widely known clergymen in this section of the state, is a native son of California and with the exception of a brief period during the earlier years of his priesthood spent at Portland, Oregon, all his active and useful life has been spent in this state. Father Rourke was born in the city of San Francisco on June 20, 1870, and is a son of Patrick and Mary (McDonald) Rourke, who had come to California from Boston in 1868 and had established their home in San Francisco. The late Patrick Rourke was a skilled structural iron worker and he had a hand in the erection of San Francisco's first city hall and was for years one of the active figures in building operations in that city. He lived to the ripe old age of eighty-five years, his death occurring in August, 1922. His wife had predeceased him by more than fifteen years, her death having occurred in 1906.

Reared in San Francisco, J. G. Rourke received his initial schooling in the schools of that city and early devoted himself to the service of the church, his studies thereafter being directed with a view eventually to entering holy orders. Following a preparatory course in St. Ignatius College at San Francisco he entered the old Dominican College as Be-nicia for further instruction in theology and the humanities and following his graduation there was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Riorden at San Francisco in April, 1894, he then being twenty-three years of age. In October of that year Father Rourke was sent to Vallejo as assistant to the rector.of the parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and it was thus that more than thirty years ago he formed his first acquaintance with the people of this favored community. After eighteen months of service at Vallejo he was sent to Portland, Oregon, but not long afterward was recalled and given a charge at San Francisco, where he remained until in 1908, when he was stationed at Benicia, here again coming into touch with the people of Solano county. After a period of service at Benicia he was sent to Crockett in Contra Costa county and from there back to San Francisco, where he remained until in August, 1923, when he was sent back to his first post and was installed as rector of the parish of St. Vincent Ferrer at Vallejo, where he since has been in service and where the evidences of the effectiveness of this service are manifest in many ways in a new spirit of progress that has marked all departments of the work of that flourishing parish during the period of his ministration.

Father Rourke has two assistants attached to his charge and his parish covers a large field, including also a church in South Vallejo. The parish has an excellent equipment in a material way, church, parish house and school being maintained in admirable fashion. The school has an ample and competent staff, the Sisters being assisted by two lay teachers, and the curriculum carries on through the high school course, in addition to which special attention is given to the teaching of music and painting. Since entering upon his ministry here Father Rourke has given close and thoughtful attention to the general civic affairs of the community and is an able exponent of all measures designed to advance the common welfare.

History of Solano County, California By Marguerite Hunt and Napa County, California By Harry Lawrence Gunn. From Their Earliest Settlement To The Present Time. Chicago. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1926. 883 pages.

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This page was last updated 15 Oct 2007

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