shamrockIn honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I write about a South Dakota priest from Ireland who recently got his green card.

Father Cathal Gallagher arrived in America in 1996 to work as a chaplain in Minnesota. He moved to Sioux Falls and remained there for ten years.

South Dakota Green Card Application

While in South Dakota, Gallagher applied for a green card but, like many immigrants, experienced trouble due to the 9/11 attacks. Fearing that he would not be able to return to the US to finish the green card process, Gallager refrained from traveling home to Ireland for vacations.

In 2008, Gallagher’s green card case hit a snag and he was placed deportation proceedings. Citizens and Congressmen intervened on his behalf and he eventually got his green card.

Returns to Ireland with Green Card in Hand

After obtaining his green card, Gallagher was able to return to Ireland after 11 years abroad. He found that, although much had changed in Ireland, the Irish people remained the same. Back in South Dakota, Gallagher has brought the St. Patrick’s Day tradition to the citizens of Huron by celebrating a special mass and participating in a dinner and fundraising events.