The most recent Division of the Hibernians in Louisiana, take their name from Fr. Thomas John Gallagher, who was born in Geevagh, County Sligo, Ireland on May 1, 1923. The story goes that the name Thomas was shortened by one of his siblings who only picked up the “mos” at the end of his name. From then on he carried the nickname, “Mossy”.
Thomas Gallagher was ordained a priest for the St. Patrick Missionary Society on April 17, 1949, in Kiltegan, Ireland; and from 1949 until 1954 “ Mossy” served in his native Ireland. In 1954 he was assigned to serve in the Diocese of Calabar in Nigeria, Africa and served there until 1959 when he was once again returned to serve the Society in Ireland doing mission promotion.In 1961, he went to Newark, New Jersey to begin his period of service in the United States, and worked there promoting the St. Patrick Missionary Society until 1970. Then he was given a mission assignment again going to Kenya, East Africa until 1975.
Fr. “Mossy” returned to the U.S. again serving in Newark, New Jersey until 1978 when he asked for, and received, permission to be “loaned” to Archbishop Philip Hannan to work in the Archdiocese of New Orleans where he was assigned to St. Margaret Mary Parish in Slidell, Louisiana. He served in all phases of parish life where his smile and playful Irish manner endured him to everyone he met.Illness brought about his retirement, and he returned to his beloved Ireland in July of 2001.
Fr. Thomas “Mossy” Gallagher died on August 4, 2003, at the age of 80, and is buried in the Cemetery of the St. Patrick Missionary Society, in Kiltegan, County Wicklow, Ireland. His gentle spirit and unconditional love—so common to the Irish—serve as the inspiration for the men of Eastern St. TammanyParish.