Plainfield church mourns the loss of Father Glenn O’Connor

Fr. Glenn O’Connor blesses a Plainfield Fire Territory building last June. The popular St. Susanna pastor died March 15 after a battle with advanced lung cancer.
Photo by Faith Toole

By Lindsay Doty

Parishioners at St. Susanna in Plainfield are mourning the loss of Father Glenn O’Connor. The 66-year-old priest passed away March 15 after a battle with advanced lung cancer.

“He didn’t tell anyone he was sick,” parish secretary Jackie Arnett said. “Parishioners eventually began to notice. He just didn’t want anyone doting over him. He didn’t want it to be about him. That’s how he was. Only he and his family knew.”

O’Connor has served as pastor at St. Susanna since 2012 and was known for being approachable and well liked.

“He was a wonderful man. You could go to any town and somebody knew him,” Arnett added.

Parishioners were shocked about his passing and continue to offer an outpouring of support and prayers.

 “He welcomed anyone and everyone to the church to praise and worship. It mattered not whether you came from Yale or jail. He wanted you that day at that moment,” good friend and parishioner Brent Wright said.

“He personified the ‘old school’ Priest from the neighborhood and was involved in everything. He equally administered grace and mercy and occasionally tough love.

O’Connor was also the Catholic Chaplain for the Indy 500 Car Ministry, a non-for-profit that provides support and counseling to Indy drivers and teams on and off the track.  He was often called the “priest in the pits” and was popular in the racing community.  Every year since 1975, he saved a uniform shirt from a race. He also served as the Catholic Chaplain for the Indianapolis International Airport.

His death comes just days after Father Kevin Morris, a former St. Susanna pastor (1999-2012) died in a car accident. Morris had been serving a parish in Richmond.

Those who knew both pastors are shocked at the double loss. 

 “My faith has not been shaken,” Arnett said. “I do have heartache but I feel my soul is rejoicing that they are receiving the rewards in Heaven.”

Visitation will be from noon to 7 p.m. March 22 at St. Susanna Catholic Church in Plainfield followed by a vigil service at 7 p.m.  Visitation at 9 a.m. followed by the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. will be celebrated by Archbishop Charles Thompson on March 23 at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis 46202.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to St. Susanna Catholic Church, 1210 E. Main St. Plainfield, IN 46168 and/or Seeds of Hope, 1425 S. Mickley Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46241.