By Faith Toole
Sunday morning before the start of the Indy 500, in a garage along Pit Lane, IndyCar Ministries remembered Fr. Glenn O’Connor. Fondly known as the “Priest in the Pits” and beloved Pastor of Saint Susanna Catholic Church, Rosary prayers and a Mass were said in his honor.
“I’ve only known Fr. Glenn for about five years,” IndyCare Ministries Chaplain and Hendricks County resident Chuck Lessig said. “He would arrive to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the early morning hours. Before the 7 a.m. mass, he would have been out to drivers, race teams and track workers saying prayers and blessing each for a safe race. At the end of the Indy 500, when most of the fans have left the track, we’d always enjoy an ice cream cone. He was just a guy who loved people and racing. It will be an honor to continue to his legacy.”
“Father Glenn was a very, very good friend of mine. He recruited me to be part of IndyCar Ministries,” Catholic Chaplain for IndyCar Ministries and pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Health in New Albany said. “And because of that, I had the privilege to be here and to celebrate mass today. I remember my friend, on the one hand. It’s tough because he’s not here. But on the other hand, we also know he’s moved on to where we’re all destined to be. And so, it’s a mixed feeling, but always good to be here celebrating with the IndyCar family and starting off the day with mass. Fr. Glenn had a great sense of humor. He loved people, and he knew everyone. We would walk down Pit Lane. It would take twice as long because he would be stopped by every other person to say hi. He would know everyone by their name, no one had to introduce themselves. So he was that kind of that kind of person, a person who people naturally gravitated to and loved.”
“It’s a very bittersweet day to be here without him at the race because the Indy 500 was his favorite thing about Indianapolis and racing,” O’Connor’s sister, Kathleen Flynn, said. “So it’s sad to be here without him but we know he’ll always be here. It was an honor for our daughter and his niece, Maura Flynn to assist with the communion. His stole, a checkered flag, that he always wore on Race Day is embroidered with his name and ‘Racing to beat Hell.’ The stole will travel in the Indy Racing League Ministry kit all across the world, all the races. He’ll always be involved in the IndyCar ministry and his legacy will live on forever.”