Michael Joseph Gallagher was born in Currane, Achill, Co. Mayo on the 4th of September, 1929. He was the sixth child in a family of nine, born to John and Catherine Gallagher. He attended National School in Currane and Westport and studied in St. Jarlath’s College Tuam from 1943 to 1948. He came to Kiltegan in September, 1948 and was ordained on the 10th of April, 1955 in Carlow Cathedral by the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Thomas Keogh.
Michael was appointed to Ogoja Diocese, Nigeria. He was stationed at Iyamoyong where he was involved in the building of St. Brendan’s School. He also worked in Nkalagu and while stationed there he contracted TB meningitis and was invalided home to Ireland in 1966. After two years of treatment and convalescence, Michael took up a position in the Archdiocese of Glasgow and ministered there from October, 1968 to March, 1969. He then moved to the Diocese of Motherwell in Scotland and remained there until his retirement in 2004.
Michael chose to retire in Achill but kept in close touch with his Society colleagues in Knock and in Kiltegan where he rarely missed a funeral or other function. His final illness was brief. He spent a short time in the Nursing Unit in Kiltegan before being transferred to Naas Hospital where he died on the 23rd of April, 2007.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Pádraig Gallagher
Father Pádraig (Paddy) Gallagher was born on the 16th of August, 1942, to Patrick Gallagher and his wife Nora (née O’Shea) of Bridge Street, Caherciveen, Co Kerry. He was educated in Caherciveen by the Irish Christian Brothers – in primary school from 1946 to 1954 and in secondary school from 1954 to 1960. He came to Kiltegan in September 1960 for the Spiritual Year which he completed the following June. In September, he moved to St Patrick’s, Douglas, Cork, and attended UCC where he obtained a BSc degree in 1964. He returned to Kiltegan for his theology studies and was ordained, with 21 companions, in St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, on Easter Sunday, the 14th of April, 1968. The ordaining bishop was Most Rev Patrick Lennon, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.
Fr Paddy was appointed to Kenya where he was assigned to the Diocese of Nakuru. He and Fr Gerry Roche were sent to Kericho District which up to recently had been part of Kisumu Diocese. It was then in the process of being handed over by the Mill Hill Missionaries to the St Patrick’s Missionaries. Paddy and Gerry were the first Kiltegan men to be appointed there. They first went to Kaplong Mission to learn the Kipsigis language and to work with the very experienced Tyrolese priest, Fr Joe Gasser MHM. Then Paddy was appointed to teach in Kabianga High School. He later moved to Kipchimchim Mission where he worked with fellow Kerry man, Fr Tommy Randles. In 1974 Paddy was sent to study Canon Law in Rome. Three years later, he received his doctorate and returned to Nakuru. He was appointed to Kituro as Father-in-charge and while there he built a new church in Kabarnet. In 1979, he was appointed Rector of St Patrick’s College, Kiltegan, a post he held for the next ten years. After finishing his term as Rector he continued on the staff teaching Canon Law and helping to prepare for the 1990 Chapter. During his time in Kiltegan Paddy got to know many people in the surrounding area and developed strong friendships that lasted throughout his lifetime.
In 1991 Paddy was appointed to South Africa, to the Diocese of Witbank, where he worked in Mashabela and later in Christ the King Cathedral, Witbank. He threw himself into the challenge of learning a new language in his early 50s and became very fluent in Northern Sotho. From 1996 to 2002 he was St Patrick’s local superior in South Africa. In January 2016 he moved to Johannesburg where he was involved in urban ministry in a parish at Crystal Park near the Society’s District House in Benoni.
Paddy became unwell in September 2016 and he returned to Ireland in December. Sadly his illness progressed rapidly and he died peacefully in hospital on the 13th of February.
Paddy was a very gifted linguist who immersed himself fully in the culture and in the language of the people to whom he ministered. He had a very fine legal mind and his advice and counsel were valued very much by Society Leaders and by the Bishops of the dioceses where he worked. He was a very compassionate pastor and had a special place in his heart for the poor and for those with special needs. He was very close to his family and the esteem in which they held him was very evident all through his life and especially during his final illness.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Thomas (Mossie) Gallagher
Mossie – baptized Thomas John - was born on the 1st of May, 1923 in Geevagh, Co. Sligo. After his primary education at the local National School from 1928 to 1936, Mossie entered Summerhill College, Sligo and did his Leaving Certificate in 1941. He began his Spiritual Year in Kiltegan in 1942 and after the usual studies was ordained at Easter, 1949. Following his ordination he spent five years on Promotion in Ireland, after which, in 1955, he went to Nigeria and was appointed to Calabar Diocese where he was Assistant Education Secretary and was based in Uyo. After his tour in Nigeria, he was again appointed to Promotion work in Ireland for the years 1959 to 1961. In that year he was assigned the same task in the United States and was based, first in Camden, New Jersey and then in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. This continued until 1970. In that year, Mossie returned to the missions, this time to act as Procurator in the Regional House, Nairobi and remained there until 1974. A Sabbatical in the Vatican Two Institute in San Francisco followed and in 1975 he returned to Cliffside Park for a year.
Then in 1976, he took up an appointment in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which lasted until 1983. In that year he re-located to the parish of Slidell in the same Archdiocese and he remained there until 2001, apart from a short period in St. Mary’s Parish, Ajegunle, Lagos in 1991 – 92. In 2001, Mossie retired to Kiltegan and died there on the 4th of August, 2003.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Michael Gannon
Michael (Mick) was born at Ballykilroe, Ballinagore, Co. Westmeath on the 16th of July, 1942 to Joseph and Elizabeth Gannon. He received his early education from 1946-57 at Ballinagore National School. He studied in Mullingar C.B.S. from 1957-62. After two years spent farming, he entered Kiltegan in 1964 and was ordained in 1971. Later that year he went to Kenya and ministered in the then Prefecture of Lodwar. However, Mick died with a number of his Turkana parishioners on the 20th of July, 1975 in a drowning accident. Sadly, his body was never recovered but there is a memorial plaque in his memory at Nakwamoru Church. May he rest in peace.
Place of Rest: Turkana, Kenya
Fr Peter Gillooly
Fr Peter Gillooly was born on the 6th of October, 1934 to Thomas Gillooly and his wife Bridget (nee Allen) at Mount Cashel, Kilroosky, Co. Roscommon. He attended Weekfield National School from 1940 to 1948. He then went to Summerhill College, Sligo where he sat his Leaving Certificate in 1953. He came to Kiltegan in September of that year and completed the Spiritual Year there. He then went to St Patrick’s Douglas, Cork and attended UCC, obtaining a BA degree in June 1957. In September 1957 he returned to Kiltegan for a four year course in theology and was ordained on the 2nd of April, 1961 (Easter Sunday) at Killamoat Church by Bishop Patrick Cleary SSC.
After his ordination Peter was appointed to Ogoja Diocese, Nigeria. He arrived in September 1961 and took up his first teaching appointment at Maryknoll Secondary School, Okuku under the tutelage of Fr Tommy McCracken. Over the next 12 years he taught in the following schools: Ugep TTC, Iboko Secondary School, St Joseph’s Igbeagu and finally in Ikom Secondary School.
He had the reputation of being a very hard worker and a very conscientious teacher who always had a special eye for the less intellectually gifted student. While on home leave in 1973 he was asked to transfer to Malawi where the Society had begun a mission in 1970. This was a big move which he embraced willingly. He was appointed to Chikwawa Diocese where he worked in Chikwawa town, Ngabu and Molere. In the late 1990’s Peter returned to Ireland and took up an appointment in his native Diocese of Elphin where he worked in St Paul’s Church, Kilmurray. It was there that Peter died suddenly on Sunday morning, the 25th of March 2012. He was about to begin his breakfast when he was called to eternal life.
Peter was a man of few words but he was his own man who made up his own mind on matters and had strong convictions. He was a most loyal and devoted friend who cherished his family and his Society colleagues. He lived a very simple life and was quite content as long as he had a cigarette and the radio.
Fr Joe (James Joseph) Gilmartin
Joe – baptized James Joseph – was born in Claremorris, Co. Mayo on the 29th of February, 1912. His father had been an R.I.C. policeman and it is believed he was a Sligoman. Thus the family re-located to Strandhill, Co. Sligo in 1914. There Joe received his early education from 1918 to 1926. From there he proceeded to Summerhill College, Sligo for his secondary education during the years 1926 to 1930. In that year, he went to All Hallows College for his two-year course in Philosophy.
In 1932, Joe enrolled in the newly-founded Kiltegan being in the first group to do the Spiritual Year there. Having completed this, he returned to All Hallows College for theology, doing three years of this from 1933 to 1936. Joe did his final year of theology in Kiltegan and was ordained in 1937, among a group of four, the first ordination group in our Society.
Faced with its teething problems, the young Society needed staff for the College and Joe found himself assigned to the Superior General’s Council, Dean of students and Bursar. He held these posts until early 1942, when he went to Nigeria, where he was appointed to Calabar. While there, he ministered in Anua, Ediene, taught in Holy Family College, Abak and finally was supervisor of schools for Calabar. He ministered in Nigeria until 1950, when a Chapter was held.
At this Chapter, Joe was elected Superior General, a post he held until 1962. His period of tenure has been described as the golden years of our Society. It saw a growth in membership, an extension of our missionary effort to East Africa, the expansion of our House of Studies in Cork and the building of the new College in Kiltegan. On completing his term of office, Joe returned to the missions, this time to Kenya, where he was assigned to Kitui. He ministered there from 1962 to 1969 in which year he was appointed Regional Superior for East Africa. He held this post until 1972.
In 1972, Joe re-located to another mission area this time to St. George’s, Grenada. He remained here until he was appointed to Cliffside Park in July, 1980 for a period of three years. However, he was taken ill in April, 1983 and returned to Ireland. He died on the 12th of August, 1983.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Michael Glynn
Michael – baptized Michael Virgil – was born at Cooksboro, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath on the 12th of March, 1922. He had his primary education at Loughagar N.S. from 1928 to 1934 and St. Mary’s C.B.S. Mullingar, followed by secondary studies at St. Mary’s C.B.S. from 1935 to 1936 and at St Finian’s College, Mullingar, from 1936 to 1941, when he entered Kiltegan. After ordination in 1948, Michael went to Nigeria and was assigned to Calabar Diocese.
He was to embark upon a life ministry in the field of communications, especially that of the written word. In Calabar, he worked in St. Therese’s Press, as editor of Catholic Life. This continued until his first home leave in 1952, when he took over as editor of Africa a post he held until 1964. In that year he returned to Nigeria to become Communications Secretary to the Catholic Secretariat in Lagos a position he held until 1968, when he returned to Kiltegan to re-assume the editorship of Africa until 1970.
In that year, the picture shifted to a wider canvas when Michael went to Rome and was assigned to FIDES news agency at the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. He had a short stint there and in 1971 he transferred to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, where he served until 1993. There his remit included the work of UNDA, the international Catholic Association for radio and television. He also served some time as secretary to the late Bishop Agnellus Andrew, Assistant Director of the Pontifical Council.
As a tribute to his work on the Council, Michael was honoured by the Holy Father with the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice and on his retirement, was appointed as a Consultor of this Council. After he retired in 1993, Michael did a renewal course at the Redemptorist House in Dublin and later that year was appointed to the post of Procurator General of St. Patrick’s, and Superior of our house in Rome. He died suddenly on the 5th of August, 1996.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Austin Gogerty
Austin was born in Trim, Co. Meath on the 11th of September, 1917. Having received his primary education locally, his secondary education was in St. Patrick’s Classical School, Navan from 1932 to 1936. Following this he did one Rhetoric year in St. Patrick’s College Carlow, entering Kiltegan in 1937. Following the Spiritual Year here, he returned to Carlow for his Philosophy, after which he completed his Theology studies in Kiltegan. He was ordained in December, 1943 but owing to wartime restrictions, he did not travel to Nigeria until 1945.
Reaching Nigeria, he was assigned to the then Vicariate of Calabar. Records indicate that while in Calabar, Austin found himself, according to one scribe ‘builder in residence at Holy Family College, Abak and later engaged in agricultural pursuits in Edem Ekpat’. Shortly after returning to Ireland in 1950 he went to the U.S.A. to take charge of a newly-formed congregation of brothers in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey and records show a letter from Austin to the then Superior General informing the latter that he had been officially installed as Superior of the Congregation in October, 1953. He was to continue in this capacity until the end of 1960, when he returned to Ireland.
Early in 1961, Austin re-located to England and ministered in the Archdiocese of Liverpool until the end of 1962, when he returned to Ireland. He also ministered for some time after this in New York and Florida. Afterwards he returned to Ireland and for some time he ministered in Baltinglass. In the mid-sixties, Austin began his final period of ministry, this time in the Diocese of Meath. There he worked in Tullamore, Kilbeggan and in Delvin. In 1984, he transferred to Rosemount and from there, in 1988, he went as Chaplain to the hospital in Navan. He died on the 11th of May, 1993.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Michael Golden
Michael Golden was born in Westport, Co. Mayo on the 18th of September, 1933. He was one of four children born to Patrick Golden and his wife, Bridget (nee Walsh). Michael began his formal education with the Sisters of Mercy and after two years moved to the Christian Brothers’ Primary School and because he was only thirteen when he got the Primary Certificate he did not go to boarding school but spent a year in the CBS Secondary School. Then, he transferred to Clongowes Wood College and completed his secondary studies there. He came to Kiltegan in September, 1951 and did the spiritual year. The following year he moved to Douglas, Cork; he did Arts at University and was conferred with a BA degree in 1955. He then returned to Kiltegan where he did four years of theology and was ordained with 23 companions (the biggest class ever) on the 23rd of May, 1959 in Killamoat by Bishop Thomas McGettrick.
Michael was appointed to Calabar, Nigeria where he taught in Regina Coeli School and later in a Teacher Training College. He was in Ireland when the Biafra War broke out in 1967 and spent a year in Swansea University where he earned a Diploma in Sociology. In 1969, he returned to Calabar and became involved in relief work. He returned to Regina Coeli in 1971 but continued to organise development projects. He also assisted Sr Dr Leonie McSweeney MMM in the promotion of natural methods of family planning. In 1981 he was sent to Rome to study spirituality. On his return to Nigeria a year later he began work as Spiritual Director in the seminary of the Missionaries of St Paul in Iperu- Remo and later moved to their seminary at Gwagwalada to teach philosophy.
In 1985, he contracted polio and was airlifted to London by Nigeria Airways when all other carriers refused to take him. He was isolated when he reached London and received medical treatment there for most of a year. He spent time in the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire and then returned to Kiltegan. In 1988 he was appointed to the Society House in Maynooth as Dean and Bursar. By now he had become reconciled to the fact that his legs would never be able to support him and that he would always need a wheelchair to get around. However, he could drive an automatic car and learned how to slide into the car from his wheelchair and to stow away the wheelchair in the back seat.
Michael was not one to surrender to infirmity and because of that he lived a very full and happy life. He was full of ideas and felt compelled to share them at every opportunity. His enthusiasm for mission, for prayer and for community life never diminished and his love for the Society was very profound. He found a very fulfilling ministry in the Hermitage, the Marist Rehabilitation Centre in Athlone through the invitation of Brother Francis SM whom he knew in Nigeria. Michael served there for about 17 years. He was stricken with cancer but remained on in Athlone while undergoing treatment in Dublin. He returned to Kiltegan in October, 2008 and since then his life since has been one of illness, medical treatment, check-ups and frequent pain. Up to very recently he continued to read, to write for the Society newsletter “Ad invicem” and to take his turn in leading the community mass. He kept in touch with many people through personal letters, reflective circulars and by posting out 100 copies of Africa every month. Michael spent his last few days in Naas Hospital and died on the morning of the 2nd of March, 2012.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Tom Grealy
Fr Tom Grealy, a native of Ballyglass, Kiltimagh, Co Mayo passed away on the 8th of April, 2011. Tom who was ordained in 1946 was less than two weeks short of his eighty-ninth birthday at the time of his death.
Fr Tom’s first appointment was to the diocese of Calabar in Nigeria where he worked in two parishes, Essene and Urua Akpan, for the following twenty years. He set up outstation churches and schools in dozens of villages and his considerable organisational and planning skills were used to good effect. His major project was the building of the parish church in Urua Akpan to the plan of architect Pearse McKenna who designed the college in Kiltegan. It was one of the first architect-designed churches to be built in the area and it was Tom’s pride and joy. He became an expert at reading plans and helped many of his fellow priests with their building programmes. Alongside his parish work, Fr Tom, with Fr Paddy Finnerty, was given joint responsibility for the management of the diocesan schools network.
Tom went to Ireland on home leave in 1967 never to return apart from one visit in 1990 which he enjoyed immensely. The Nigerian Civil War intervened and Tom’s life took a new direction. He was appointed to promotion and fundraising work in the USA in 1968 and remained there for ten years working out of New Jersey. He was then sent to Limerick diocese as part of the agreement whereby diocesan priests who went on the missions were replaced by Kiltegan priests who for one reason or another were not able to work in the tropics. Tom was stationed in St Mary’s parish in Limerick and worked there from 1979 until he became disabled by a stroke in 2000. He then retired to Kiltegan.
The first thing one associates with Tom is strength. He had great physical strength but also great strength of character. He was very kind and a bit shy. In his twenty years in Nigeria, he had helped the Church take root and had used his talents to help it to grow. Later, in retirement, he made great efforts to overcome his disability and struggled for a year to get back his mobility. When he saw that his efforts were not succeeding, he reluctantly bowed to the inevitable and acquired a battery operated wheelchair that was his ticket to freedom. He went out in all kinds of weather travelling around the grounds. Sometimes, when he pulled in from a car the wheels sank in the soft earth. Tom was unperturbed and waited for a passing car or for someone to come looking for him and give him the necessary push onto the tarmac.
Fr Tom retained his independence until October of last year and since then had been confined to his room. His final illness was long and painful with frequent crises and unexpected recoveries. He passed away peacefully on the 8th of April, 2011.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Matt Grehan
Matt was born in Ballinabrackey, Co. Meath to Thomas and Ellen Grehan on the 21st of September, 1920. He received his early education from 1925 to 1934 at Castlejordan N.S. From there, he proceeded to St. Finian’s College, Mullingar for the period 1934 to 1939. He entered Kiltegan in 1939 and was ordained in December, 1945.
After ordination, Matt studied Canon Law in Maynooth from 1946 to 1948 and in Rome from 1948 to 1950. Having been awarded a Doctorate, he taught in Kiltegan from 1950-53. In that year, he went to Nigeria where he ministered in Calabar until 1958. He then returned to Ireland and in the late fifties he went to the U.S.A. and was incardinated into the Diocese of Miami in April, 1966. He died there on the 29th of February, 1976.
Place of Rest:
Fr Paddy Grey
Pat was born at Dernafast, Gowna, Co. Cavan on the 25th of May, 1932. Having received his early education at Columbkille N.S during the years 1938 to 1946, he did his secondary studies at St. Mary’s Latin School, Moyne, for the years 1947 to 1952 after which he entered Kiltegan and was ordained in 1959. Later that year, he went to Nigeria and was appointed to the Diocese of Ogoja.
Pat spent all his missionary life in the Diocese of Ogoja. He was a great builder and left fine churches and presbyteries behind in Okuku, Wula, Obubra and Sankwala. He was supported by many benefactors in the USA, whom he visited during his home leave. He was diagnosed with cancer in April, 1989. He was able to return to his beloved Sankwala for a short while in the autumn of 1989. He spent the last few months of his life in Ireland and died in Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross, on the 29th of September, 1990.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Joseph D (Josie Dom) Griffin
Joseph Dominic Griffin was born in Tralee, Co. Kerry on the 30th of July, 1924. He was one of a family of 11 children born to Cornelius Griffin and his wife, Hanna Sugrue. He received his primary education in Tralee from the Presentation Sisters and the Christian Brothers. He attended the Christian Brothers Secondary School in Tralee and after spending a short time farming, he came to Kiltegan in 1944. Ordained in Killamoat church on the 25th of March, 1951, Josie was appointed to the Diocese of Calabar. There he worked in Essene, Ikot Edibon, Ikot Ene, Use Abat, Okobo and Oban.
Josie left Nigeria in 1968 and worked for a short time in England in the Diocese of Southwark. He was appointed to promotion work in the USA and spent a year in the Society house in Camden. He returned to Ireland in 1971 and ministered in Limerick Diocese working for a brief time in the Cathedral before moving to Killeedy Parish (1972-1983) and Feenagh/Kilmeedy Parish (1983-1993).
He retired to Nazareth House, Mallow, Co. Cork, in August, 1993. He lived out his retirement in great peace. He was an avid reader and collected a fine library. In March 2007 his health deteriorated and he had his right leg amputated. He never recovered fully and died on the 24th of July, 2007.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Richard Griffin
Richard was born on the 1st of August, 1947 in Salthill, Galway to Jim and Maura Griffin. His mother died when he was three. He attended Scoil Ide, Salthill from 1952-1955 and St. Patrick’s, Galway from 1955-1960. He went to St. Joseph’s College, Galway for his secondary studies and came to Kiltegan in 1965 for the Spiritual Year. He studied philosophy in St. Patrick’s, Douglas, Cork for two years and then did four years of theology study in Kiltegan. He was ordained in Killamoat on the 4th of June, 1972.
Richard worked for 3 months in Clogheen Parish in the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore before going to Nakuru, Kenya in early 1973. He was appointed to Roret and remained there until 1980 when he moved to Eldama Ravine for a short period. He was recalled to Ireland that same year to do Vocations’ Promotion work. After six years he did a sabbatical in Mount Oliver, Dundalk followed by a course on Clinical Pastoral Education in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin.
Richard returned to Kenya in 1988 and worked in Lokitaung Parish in Lodwar Diocese. He was recalled to Ireland once more in 1992 to join the Formation Staff in Maynooth. He did the Religious Formation Ministry Programme (Loreto House) from 1994 to 1995 and then he spent a year studying in the Milltown Institute.
He was appointed Director of the Initial Formation Programme in Kenya in 1996 and served in that post for six years. He came to Ireland for cancer treatment in 2003 but was able to resume his ministry in Kenya in early 2004. Later that year he returned to Ireland for further treatment. He died on the 25th of October, 2006 in Kiltegan.