Father O'Rourke was the parish priest at St. Luke's Church in 1991 and 1992. He was acquainted with one of his most devoted parishioners, Ivy Brennan, offering her advice when she turned to the church during a crisis in her marriage to Don.
In October 1991, Ivy brought her grandson Nicky Tilsley to church with her for the first time, and introduced him to Father O'Rourke. Although he'd been baptised, Nicky hadn't been raised as a Catholic, much to Ivy's chagrin. The disinterested boy only became interested in what O'Rourke had to say when he invited Nicky to play football with the altar boys' team. Nicky later joined the lads for a kick-about in the school playing field, enjoying himself so much that he agreed to become an alter boy in order to sign up to the team. Nicky was hoping to get Bryan Robson's autograph, as Father O'Rourke had told him he'd met the footballer.
Gail and Martin Platt didn't approve of Nicky being an altar boy, fully aware that Ivy had only taken Nicky to church as a way of defying them in light of Martin's application to adopt Nicky and Sarah Louise. When Martin turned up at a match refereed by Father O'Rourke and dragged Nicky off the pitch, the priest called on Ivy at 5 Coronation Street to find out why. In Ivy's absence, Don gave her a brief history of Ivy's battles with the Platts, and her inability to let go of her late son Brian.
As he was due to go away for a few weeks, O'Rourke went immediately to Bettabuy, where Ivy worked, to encourage her to be gentler in her efforts to have Nicky brought up in the faith. His words had little effect on Ivy, who subsequently dismissed him to Don as a trendy. O'Rourke's presence in the store caught the attention of manager Reg Holdsworth. The priest took the opportunity to invite Reg to donate a prize to the weekly raffle at St. Luke's, leading the grimacing manager to pick up a nearby tin of chocolates for the purpose.
Several weeks later, O'Rourke found Ivy praying in the chapel by herself and went to her aid. Ivy agreed to talk things through in the vestry over a cup of tea. The priest listened sympathetically as Ivy told him that Don had left her for another woman, Julie Dewhurst. Ivy couldn't understand why Don didn't try to fight for their marriage and was upset by O'Rourke's suggestion that Don thought she wouldn't hear whatever he had to say.
Don returned to Ivy but the following June he crashed his car in a suicide bid and left his wife again. Feeling tremendously guilty, Ivy once again turned to Father O'Rourke. She was concerned that she'd driven him to try to do away with himself, which was a sin in the eyes of God. O'Rourke realised that Ivy was looking to him to clear her conscience, and told her that she must forgive God for everything, advising her to look within to see if the seed of hate was in her.