Father Richard Lawrence Somers, 76, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, at St. Catherine’s Village. He was born in Clogh, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland on August 8, 1940, son of the late, Richard and Mary Somers.
He was fifth of six siblings, two sisters and three brothers. He attended the local school, after which he went on to the Minor Seminary, St. Kieran in Kilkenny City. From there he moved on to the Major Seminary at St. John’s in Waterford, where he completed his philosophy and theological studies.
Fr. Somers was ordained for the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson in June 12, 1966. He arrived in Jackson on September 1966 and shortly thereafter took up his first assignment at Bay St. Louis Our Lady of the Gulf. He also served in Biloxi, Hattiesburg, and Meridian St. Patrick. In 1975 he became pastor of Jackson St. Therese and from there moved across town to St. Richard. His final assignment was at Greenville St. Joseph where he spent sixteen years, which was his longest tenure.
He will be remembered for his love of welcoming people into the church through RCIA. “He was unique in his approach of going after people,” said Father Gerald Hurley. “He always said God chased him to Mississippi so he was willing to chase after people,” he said.
Fr. Somers retired for health reasons in 2012 and in December he moved into St. Catherine’s Village. His almost 50 years of service left a lasting impression on the church in Mississippi. His infectious optimism touched the lives of many people because of his enthusiasm, his energy, his faith and his great love of the Catholic Church. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Eddie; and his sister, Peggy. He is survived by his brothers, Patty and Frank; and his sister, Teresa.
Visitation and the funeral Mass were at St. Richard Saturday, October 22. He was buried in the cemetery at Gluckstadt St. Joseph.
Fr. Somers will be greatly missed by a large number of people. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St Joseph Catholic High School, 1501 VFW Road, Greenville, MS 38701.