More than 100 people gathered at St Peter and Paul's Church in Bruff, Co Limerick on Friday, to pay respects to the memory of John F Kennedy, whose great-grandfather Thomas Fitzgerald emigrated from the town in 1852.

Speaking at the Mass, held on the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, Bishop of Limerick Dr Brendan Leahy told parishioners: “At today’s anniversary Mass we get a chance to do three things: 1) recall the past; 2) pray for the deceased; and 3) set the compass again in our own lives.”

When Fitzgerald left Ireland he carried with him the family Bible, the same Bible Kennedy used when taking oath of office in 1961. According to the Irish Times, the town's Thomas Fitzgerald Centre, which opened when Caroline Kennedy visited Bruff last June, displays the president's great-grandfather's sacramental details found in the Bruff parish records.

John F. Kennedy visited Limerick in 1963. More than 40 of his Bruff cousins saw him as he was paraded through the town on the historic homecoming.