Remembering Our Deceased
Rest In Peace
Eternal rest grand unto them,
O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Fr Pat Magee
Pat was born in Monaghan on the 26th of January 1930. He received his early education in Portaferry National School, in the National School, Irishtown, Athlone and finally in the C.B.S. Templemore, Co. Tipperary. This was during the years 1934 to 1943. His secondary education was in St. Macartan’s, Monaghan from 1943 to 1948.
In 1948, he entered Kiltegan and was ordained at Easter, 1956. At the end of that year he was appointed to the then Prefecture of Kitui in Kenya which had just been established. Pat played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Teacher Training College in Mutune in 1958. He had a classics degree from UCC and worked in Mutune as a teacher and Principal throughout his ministry, apart from a short interlude in Muthale Mission. Pat suffered a heart attack on the 3rd of April 1972 and died on his way to hospital. He is buried at Mutune, near Kitui.
Place of Rest: Mutune, Kenya
Fr Matt Magrath
Matt was born in 1906 at Ballyduff, Arklow. Having studied in the local National School, he went to St. Peter’s College, Wexford for his secondary education. He then studied at Clonliffe College and Maynooth and was ordained in 1932 for the Archdiocese of Dublin. In the same year, he went as a Volunteer to Nigeria and joined the Society in 1938. He spent his priestly life in Nigeria except for the years 1950 to 1956 when he served on the Superior General’s Council. During these years at home, he was actively involved in the extension of the Apostolic Work, the well-known mission-aid organisation.
Matt was a builder – of the physical and spiritual edifice – of the Church in Nigeria. It is recorded that he built the first permanent church in the then Prefecture of Calabar – at Ifuho. The construction of Calabar Cathedral followed and a modern church in Essene. From the then Prefecture of Calabar, three Dioceses evolved and Matt’s last months were spent in the one most recently erected, Ikot Ekpene. Struck by a fatal illness, he was stretchered home at the end of May 1964 and died a month later on the 26th of June at the Medical Missionaries Training Hospital, Drogheda.
He received the following tribute: “He was with the Society and its missions right from the beginning, and his part in shaping the Society’s spirit, and setting the pattern of its approach to mission and to people, was not small”.
Place of Rest:
Bishop John Mahon
John Christopher was born on the 25th of December, 1922 in Killurin, Killeigh, Co. Offaly. His primary education was at Gortnamona N.S. and for secondary studies he went to C.B.S. Tullamore for a year and then to Knockbeg College, Carlow. He began his Spiritual Year in 1941 and was ordained at Easter, 1948. After ordination, he studied Canon Law in Maynooth and was awarded a Doctorate in this discipline in 1951. In the same year, he joined the staff in Kiltegan as Professor and Dean of students. He relinquished this position in 1959 when he was appointed to the Diocese of Ogoja. He worked there until 1968 as Head of St. Thomas’ Teacher Training College.
In 1968, there was a new development in Kenya with the creation of the Prefecture Apostolic of Lodwar. John was appointed the first Prefect Apostolic. A lot has been written of John’s impact upon the new territory. In this area, there was almost nothing in normal infrastructure and necessary facilities. At its inception the Prefecture faced a major famine problem, and famine relief was high on the agenda. With structures in place to deal with that problem, the question of education for development was faced.
Primary schools soon dotted the area and the necessary secondary schools to cope with the output at primary level soon followed. Girls’ education, hitherto neglected, was soon within the focus of the new Prefect Apostolic. As one scribe had it, “Education has been a major aspect of Bishop Mahon’s contribution to development in Turkana.” Another important element in development was taken care of, in the form of a network of Health Centres, dispensaries, mobile clinics and a fully-equipped hospital. Conventional development projects featured largely in the scheme of things. These included large-scale irrigation schemes, a fisheries project, boreholes to provide a hitherto scarce commodity, elementary co-operatives – all geared towards making the Turkana people self-sufficient.
In 1978, the Prefecture became a Diocese and John Mahon was ordained its first Bishop. His stand for justice often caused problems, but it was all for the welfare of the people entrusted to him, and for the sake of human rights so that these same people could live in dignity. His tenure as Bishop saw a great growth of the Church in Turkana; the requisite church structures were in place by the time he resigned as bishop in March, 2000, having reached the mandatory age of retirement.
For some years he lived in Lodwar and in June, 2004 he went to a Society house in Kitale. He went on leave in July, 2004. On his return he stayed a few days in the Society Theology House in Nairobi and died there suddenly on the 10th of November 2004. He is buried beside the Cathedral in Lodwar.
Place of Rest: Lodwar, Kenya
Fr Tom Mahoney
Details of the life and ministry of Tom Mahoney are somewhat sketchy. Tom was born to Mrs. and Mrs. William Mahoney, Loughrea, Co. Galway on the 9th of October 1913. His early education was at the Mercy Convent Infant School 1918-1920 and St. Brendan’s National School. On completing this stage, he studied at St. Joseph’s College, Ballinasloe (Garbally) from 1929 to 1933. From there he proceeded to study Philosophy in Mount Melleray Seminary from 1933 (September) to June 1935. In September that year he began his Spiritual Year in Kiltegan and was ordained in December 1939.
His priestly ministry was in Calabar Diocese where he died tragically in an accident near Ikot Ekpene on the 20th of April, 1960 when returning from a Requiem Mass for his mother who had died a few days before. He is buried in Anua, Nigeria.
Place of Rest: Anua, Nigeria
Fr Tony Malone
Tony was born on the 26th of February 1939 at Ennis Road, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare. Having had his primary education at the local N.S. from 1945 to 1952, he proceeded to St. Flannan’s College, Ennis for secondary studies during the years 1952 to 1957. In that year, he entered Kiltegan and was ordained in 1964. Later that year, he went to Kenya and was assigned to the Diocese of Kitui. One could say that in this area, the Church was still in its infancy with small numbers of personnel and normal Church structures being put in place. Tony made a big impact in this situation.
He ministered in many missions in the Diocese, places where his memory lingers on. He started in Kimangao and shortly afterwards was posted to Kitui town. Muthale mission followed and then Tony was involved in a pioneer effort in Syomunyu, on the Yatta plateau. After this he moved to Ikanga, followed by Mutune and finally, Nguni. Tony’s health was now a cause for anxiety and he returned to his native heath in 1993, taking up a curacy in Kilshanny Parish, Lisdoonvarna, in the Diocese of Galway. He died after a short illness on the 26th of September 1997. He is buried in his native Miltown Malbay.
Place of Rest: Miltown Malbay
Fr William P (Bill) Mauric
William Patrick (Bill) Mauric was born on the 25th of November 1957 to George Mauric and his wife Mary (née Monaghan) of Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He was the fourth child in a family of ten. In his youth his family moved to Parnell in Michigan where Bill received his education. Bill joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society in September 1985. After the Spiritual Year he went to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, for a two year course in Philosophy, graduating in June 1988. He returned to Kiltegan in September 1988 for a three year course in theology. The third year of his theology course was taken at the Kimmage Mission Institute in Dublin. After his deaconate ordination in 1991 he was appointed to pastoral work in Our Lady of the Angels Church, Bayswater, London, under the supervision of Fr Michael Hollings. From January to April 1992 he did a course in Clinical Pastoral Education at Cork University Hospital. Bill was ordained priest in St Patrick’s Chapel, Kiltegan, on the 6th of June 1992. The ordaining prelate was Most Rev Francis McKiernan DD, Bishop of Kilmore. He said his First Mass in the Parish Church in Wicklow town on the 7th of June.
Following ordination Bill was appointed to Brazil. After a three month course in the Portuguese language in Brasilia he went to work in São Sebastião Parish, Jardim Mitsutani in the Diocese of Campo Limpo where he ministered until 1998. In early 1999 Bill was chosen to be part of a group of Society priests to open a new mission in the Diocese of Juina in the State of Mato Grosso. He worked in Santo Antônio Parish, Castanheira, in the Sagrado Coração Cathedral, Juina and in São José Parish, Juruena. He was then transferred back home to the USA where he served on the Society’s promotion team, first in Chicago and later in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. The call to the missions remained always with Bill and when his six year term finished in the USA he returned to his beloved Brazil in 2011. This time he went to work in São José Parish, Alto Taquari, Mato Grosso, which was then in the Diocese of Guiratinga and in 2014 became part of the Diocese of Rondonópolis- Guiratinga. He remained there for the rest of his life.
Bill became seriously ill with COVID-19 towards the end of February 2021. After a short time in a Clinic in Alto Taquari he was transferred to the Santa Casa Hospital in Rondonópolis on the 27th of February. Bill was anointed by Padre José Eder, the Episcopal Vicar of the Diocese of Rondonópolis-Guiratinga on Monday, the 5th of April. He died on the morning of the 6th of April 2021.
Bill was the first American (and so far the only American) to be ordained for St Patrick’s Missionary Society. While it cannot have been easy for him to leave the comfort of his home in Parnell, Michigan, and cross the Atlantic to Ireland, he adapted very quickly to the culture within the Society and to life in Ireland. He was very popular with his fellow students. He was blessed in having an aunt and her family living in Wicklow town where he was able to spend some of his holiday time. Bill was a very committed and zealous missionary priest. He was always willing to go wherever the Society’s needs were greatest. He was very undemanding and got on with life. He was a straight talker and he believed firmly that actions speak louder than words. Those who were at the 2014 Chapter will remember his inspiring words at one of the last Masses during the Chapter. He held up the document the delegates had produced. He said: “See this document! It is a good document but it can be a great document! We have talked the talk! Now we must walk the walk!” Bill has certainly walked the walk.
May his kind and generous soul rest in peace. Descanse em paz.
Fr Sean Meehan
Sean – baptized John James Aloysius – was born in Ballyfin, Co. Laois on the 21st of June 1921. He attended the local primary school from 1925 to 1934, after which he proceeded to Knockbeg College, Carlow for the years 1934 to 1940. He entered Maynooth in that year and completed Second Arts. In 1942, he came to Kiltegan. After ordination in 1948, he entered U.C.C. where he completed his B.A. course, followed by a H. Dip. Ed.
In 1950, he returned to Kiltegan and served on the staff until 1952. In that year he was appointed to Nigeria and worked in the Diocese of Ogoja. Records show that he was instrumental in getting Maryknoll College up and running. He continued in the capacity of Headmaster until 1962. In that year, he was elected to the Superior General’s Council for a period of ten years. During that time, in 1965, he was the first headmaster of the newly opened Buchlyvie in Scotland. He was also Vocations Director. On the termination of his period on the Council, he was appointed Society Procurator in Rome, the first of such appointments. This was to last for eight years and in 1980, he returned to the missions, this time to the Diocese of Lodwar, Kenya where he taught in the local secondary school. However, ill health forced his return to Ireland in 1985 and he commenced work in the office. Sean died on the 26th of February 1994.
Place of Rest:
Fr PJ Melican
Patrick Joseph Melican (PJ) was born on the 29th of March 1949 to Martin Melican and his wife Vera (née Conway) of Frure, Lissycasey, Co Clare. PJ was the third eldest of a family of seven girls and six boys. He received his primary education at Frure National School from 1954 to 1962. For his secondary education he studied at St Flannan’s College, Ennis, Co Clare. He joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society in September 1967. He went to St Patrick’s College, Douglas, Cork, and attended University College Cork. He graduated in June 1971. After theological studies in Kiltegan he was ordained in St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, on the 7th of June 1975. The ordaining prelate was Bishop James Moynagh SPS, Bishop Emeritus of Calabar, Nigeria.
After ordination PJ was appointed to the Diocese of Abakaliki, Nigeria, where he ministered until 1993. He taught for many years in St Augustine’s Junior Seminary, Ezzamgbo, and was rector there from 1982 to 1983. He also served in the parish attached to the Seminary, in Holy Trinity Parish, Umogudu and in St Stephen’s Parish, Iziogo. Ill- health forced him to leave Nigeria in 1993. He was appointed to Zimbabwe where he ministered in Mutare and Harare. It was hoped that the milder climate of Zimbabwe would bring about an improvement in his health. Sadly this was not to be. He had to return home after less than a year. He went to work as a chaplain at Knock Shrine for a short period and also spent some time in the De La Salle Retreat Centre, Castletown, Co Laois. By the end of the 1990s he had no option but to retire fully from ministry. At first he spent some time with his family in Co Clare and then moved to Carrigoran House Nursing Home. He came to Kiltegan in 2001. He was to spend the rest of his life here.
PJ was a very strong man in his youth. He was a keen Gaelic footballer and soccer player and was noted for his great commitment and enthusiasm. He settled into life in Abakaliki with ease and enjoyed his time teaching at St Augustine’s Junior Seminary. He also loved visiting the communities entrusted to his care. His preferred mode of transport was a Suzuki 175. It was a very happy and fulfilled time in PJ’s life. He was a welcoming and gracious host. He loved lively conversation and regular games of cards like Solo and Gin Rummy. He was blessed with a great memory and during parties he often recited poems which he had learned during his school days.
By the early 1990s PJ began to lose power in his arms. He first became aware that something was wrong when the racquet used to fall inexplicably from his hand while playing tennis on the Seminary court. He was soon diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease which would gradually curtail his movement. By the end of the 1990s PJ was confined to a wheelchair. For a man who had been so active and so strong in his youth this was a very hard cross to bear. Yet he bore his infirmity and his limitations with amazing courage and fortitude. He continued to be interested in life and in his family even though his ability to communicate verbally was diminishing with every passing year. He found joy in sport and was very proud of his nephew, Damien Hayes, who played for many years on the Galway Senior Hurling Team. He enjoyed a game of cards with members of the community and got great joy when he won the pot. He also loved the visits of his family and enjoyed nothing better than a visit to Lissycasey for family celebrations.
He died peacefully on the 15th of February, 2020. The Lord had come to call PJ home to eternal life and release him from the sufferings which he had borne so courageously for over two decades of his life.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Joseph (Joe) Millar
Fr Joseph (Joe) Millar was born on the 13th of March 1945 to Joseph Millar and his wife Annie (née Shields) of 31 Strathie Terrace, Stoneyburn, West Lothian, Scotland. He was one of a family of three boys and two girls. He received his primary education at Our Lady’s Primary School, Stoneyburn (1950-1957) and his secondary education at St Mary’s Secondary School, Bathgate (1957-1960). After leaving school Joe trained as a baker and worked for five years in the profession. During this period he also pursued Evening Classes at Napier College, Edinburgh. He was very involved in his local parish and was a leading member of the youth group. His leadership qualities were noted by the Parish Priest.
Joe began to sense that God was calling him to be a missionary priest. At that time St Patrick’s Missionary Society was about to open a secondary school for young men who would like to become missionary priests but who had not completed their secondary education. St Patrick’s, Buchlyvie, opened its doors in September 1965 and among its first students was Joe. He completed his O Levels in June 1967 and then went to Kiltegan in September 1967 for the Spiritual Year. This was followed by a two year course in philosophy at St Patrick’s College, Douglas, Cork. He returned to Kiltegan in September 1970 for his theological studies. Joe was ordained in Our Lady’s Church, Stoneyburn, on the 12th of June 1974. The ordaining prelate was Cardinal Gordon Joseph Gray, Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh.
After ordination Joe was appointed to Malawi where he ministered in the Diocese of Chikwawa. He worked in Molere and in Ngabu. Very quickly his ability to communicate with young people was appreciated by the Bishop and he was appointed Vocations Director for the Diocese. He returned to Scotland in 1978 to become Vocations Director for the Society in Scotland. He was based in his alma mater, St Patrick’s, Buchlyvie. Joe returned to Chikwawa in 1982. He worked as Bishop’s Secretary and also taught Bible Knowledge in the Junior Seminary (Mzimu Woyera). In 1988 he left Malawi because of ill-health and returned to Scotland and spent three years in the Archdiocese of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh. He served in St Mary’s Church, Bathgate and in St Francis Xavier Church, Falkirk. In 1991 he was appointed Superior of St Patrick’s, Buchlyvie. In 1998 he was appointed to the Diocese of Witbank in South Africa. Ill-health forced him to return home after a short while. In 1999 he was appointed to the Society’s Promotion House at East Molesey where he served on the promotion team until 2004. For some of that period in East Molesey he was Assistant Superior for England and Wales and later Superior for England and Wales.
In 2004 Joe returned to the Archdiocese of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh and was appointed Parish Priest of St Margaret of Scotland Parish in Stirling. This was to be his home until 2016 when he retired to a small apartment in Dunblane. They were very happy and fulfilled years and his kind and compassionate ministry to the people was very much appreciated. He was in his element in the midst of the people of God.
Joe served in many Society jobs during his nearly forty six years of priesthood. While his own personal preference would have been to serve in a parish he spent over eighteen years in Society posts like Vocations Director, Promotion Work and Leadership. He was a very dedicated and committed missionary priest who found deep personal fulfilment in his ministry to others. Joe had a rock solid faith in the love and compassion of God and he shared it graciously with all those he encountered in his ministry. He had a wonderful sense of humour and his hearty laughter would fill the room as he enjoyed the company of his many friends.
Joe became ill in August 2019. He bore his illness with great courage and steadfast faith, keeping his characteristic good spirits up to the very end. In early March 2020 his condition deteriorated and he was admitted to Forth Valley Hospital. He was transferred to Strathcarron Hospice on the 21st of March where he died very peacefully at 12.55 pm on Tuesday, March 31st, 2020. At his bedside were his brother William and William’s wife, Margaret and some of the Hospice Nursing Staff. Fr Kyran Murphy had celebrated the Sacrament of the Sick with Joe a few hours before he died.
Place of Rest:
Fr Conor Molony
Cornelius (Conor) Molony was born on the 6th of March 1936 to Philip Molony and his wife Margaret (née Maher) of The Green, Holycross, Co Tipperary. He received his primary education at Holycross National School from 1941 to 1948. He received his secondary education at Thurles Christian Brothers School from 1948 to 1955. He came to Kiltegan in September 1955 and completed the Spiritual Year in June 1956. He studied philosophy at St Patrick’s, Douglas, Cork, from 1956 to 1958. He returned to Kiltegan in September 1958 for a four-year course in theology. He was ordained with sixteen classmates in St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, on Easter Sunday 1962. The ordaining prelate was Bishop Patrick Cleary SSC, Exiled Bishop of Nancheng, China.
After ordination Conor was appointed to the Diocese of Eldoret, Kenya. He had to wait until early 1963 before he was able to travel because of problems with his hearing. Deafness was something that Conor had to contend with from his early years. However, it never prevented him from communicating at a very deep level with people. His first appointment was to Lodwar which had recently been opened up to missionaries. Very shortly afterwards he had to return to Ireland for treatment for his ears. When he returned to Kenya in 1965 he was appointed to Holy Rosary Parish in Nakuru. From there he was sent to Matunda. During his time in Matunda he started a Girls Secondary School which he later handed over to the Loreto Sisters. He was then appointed to Longonot and afterwards to Nakuru West where he opened a parish and gave it the same name as his home parish, Holy Cross.
From 1988 to 1993 Conor was part of the Society’s promotion team in the USA. He served for a short while in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, before going west to Saratoga, California, where he served as House Leader for three years. Conor returned to Kenya in 1993. He was asked to open St Michael’s Parish, Kiamaina. This was to be his base for most of the remaining years of his life except for a short period when he lived at St Mary’s, Ruii.
Conor spent almost fifty-two of his fifty-seven years as a priest in Kenya. He loved the people and he felt very much at home among them. Less than a week before he died, while in hospital, he spoke about his great desire to be back in his beloved Kiamaina where he could chat with the wazee (the elders). Conor was a pastoral man through and through. All his years in Kenya were spent in pastoral work. He was also a great friend to many lay missionaries who worked in Kenya especially in the 1960s and 1970s. He was a gatherer of people. His home was always a place of welcome and hospitality, values he learned in his own home from his parents in Holycross.
Conor’s health deteriorated in April 2019. He came to Ireland on annual leave at the end of July. In late August he took ill and was admitted to hospital. He died peacefully on Thursday, the 5th of September.
Place of Rest: St. Patrick's, Kiltegan
Fr Paudie Moloughney
Patrick Matthias Moloughney, the third of six children, was born on the 24th of February 1947 to Patrick and Christina (née O’Gorman) Moloughney of Laharden Upper, Littleton, Co Tipperary. He attended Littleton National School from 1952 to 1959 and the Christian Brothers Secondary School in Thurles from 1959 to 1964. He came to Kiltegan in September of that year and completed his Spiritual Year in June 1965. He then went to St Patrick’s, Douglas, Cork where he studied philosophy. In 1967, he was sent to the Irish College in Rome to continue his seminary training while studying theology at the Lateran University. In September 1970 he returned to Ireland to complete his final year of theology and was ordained in Killamoat Church, by Bishop Patrick Lennon of Kildare and Leighlin on Easter Sunday, the 11th of April 1971.
Paudie was appointed to Brazil. He did a course in Brazilian culture and the Portuguese language and then took up parish work in the Archdiocese of São Paulo. In 1980 he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife where he worked for four years in Ouro Preto and Peixinhos, under the legendary Archbishop Hélder Câmara. In 1984 he was appointed Regional Superior of the Society in South America and the Caribbean and served in that post for six years. He then took a sabbatical that included a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education in London.
In 1992, he volunteered to go to Nigeria to join the Society’s mission in Bomadi. He ministered in Burutu for four years and was then appointed Vice-Regional Superior of West Africa. When he completed his term of six years he took a sabbatical and walked the Appalachian Trail, an adventure that took six months and covered 2,100 miles stretching from Georgia to Maine. He was then asked by the Society to return to Brazil. He agreed and worked in the Parish of Juruena in the Diocese of Juina for the next nine years. During one vacation he walked the Camino from Laharden to Santiago de Compostela.
Paudie returned to Ireland in April 2013 and lived in his family home in Laharden until February 2014 when he was asked to return to Kiltegan as Assistant House Leader. In May, 2014, he was diagnosed with cancer. While undergoing treatment he lived mostly in Kiltegan but spent time in Laharden as often as he could. It was there that he died, peacefully, on Friday the 3rd of July 2015.
Paudie had a great love for his family, his neighbours, his home place and his fellow Society members and a great devotion to Tipperary hurling. He was a gifted linguist and was totally at home in the Portuguese language and spoke it like a native. He was a free spirit who defied categorization and made a deep impression on all who met him. He bore his illness with a courage and serenity which inspired all who knew him. He got his final wish: he died in the Moloughney family home where he was born and reared.
Place of Rest: Two Mile Borris, Co Tipperary
Fr Patrick Moore
Patrick Joseph Moore was born to Thomas and Brigid (née Sheppard) Moore of Grangeford, Tullow, Co. Carlow on the 4th of December, 1921. He attended Grangeford National School from 1927 to 1934 and Rathoe National School from 1934 to 1936. He did his secondary studies in St Mary’s College, Knockbeg, Carlow, from 1936 to 1941. He came to St Patrick’s, Kiltegan in September, 1941 only nine years after the Society was founded. He did the probation year with twenty-six other young men under the direction of Fr Cornelius Plunkett. Then, he became a temporary member of the Society and three years later a permanent member. He studied philosophy and theology in St Patrick’s College, Kiltegan and was ordained in Killamoat Church on Easter Sunday, the 28th of March 1948, with thirteen companions. The ordaining prelate was Bishop James Moynagh, the recently consecrated Vicar Apostolic of Calabar, Nigeria who was the first bishop to be ordained for the Society.
After ordination Paddy was appointed to the Vicariate of Calabar where he ministered until 1967. He was involved in parish work and served in the following parishes: Asong, Essene, Use Abat and Uyo Road. He was displaced by the Biafran War and returned to Ireland in 1967. He worked in the parish of Rathvilly and was based in Kiltegan. He also worked in Gortletteragh Parish in Co Leitrim. In the early 1970s Paddy was appointed once again to Nigeria and this time he ministered in the city of Lagos. He served in St Mary’s, Ajegunle, from which he founded the parish of St Charles, Olodi. Today there are five parishes in Olodi. Paddy then moved to St Augustine’s Parish, Ikorodu and finally to St Gabriel’s Parish, Bariga. Because of ill-health he had to return to Ireland in 1995.Paddy lived out his remaining years in Kiltegan. He had a keen interest in all that was going on around him. He was fully involved in community life up to a short time before his death. He was a very devoted and loyal member of the Marian Movement of Priests and rarely missed a Monday evening meeting in the Chapel of the Care Unit. He died on November 9, 2016. At the time of his death, he was the oldest member of the Society.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Frank Morgan
Francis Patrick (Frank) Morgan was born on the 5th of February 1937 to Henry Morgan and his wife Julia (née McCarthy) of 3515 Flournoy Street, Chicago. He was the last born of the family and the only son. When Frank was two years of age the family left Chicago and went to live at his father’s home place at Glenview, Crumlin, Co Antrim. Frank attended St James Primary School, Aldergrove (1943-1947) and St Joseph’s Primary School, Crumlin (1947-1950). For the first part of his secondary education Frank attended St Malachy’s College, Belfast (1950-1951). The family moved to Ballinhassig, Cork, in the early 1950s and Frank transferred to St Finbarr’s College, Farranferris. In 1953 he returned to St Malachy’s College for the final two years of his secondary education. He joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society in September 1955. After the usual course of studies he was ordained in St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, on Easter Sunday (22nd of April) 1962. The ordaining prelate was Most Rev Patrick Cleary SSC, Exiled Bishop of Nancheng, China.
After ordination Frank was appointed to the Diocese of Eldoret, Kenya where he would minister for the following twenty-nine years. He spent most of his priestly ministry teaching in Mother of Apostles Junior Seminary, Eldoret. He also taught for a short period in a Harambee School in Eldoret. He took a sabbatical in 1986/87 and participated in a Renewal Course at Gort Muire, Dublin. For the second part of the sabbatical he attended some courses at Loyola University in his native city of Chicago. At the end of the sabbatical Frank returned to the Diocese of Eldoret and ministered in Turbo and in Majengo.
In 1991 Frank left Kenya and took up an appointment in Grenada, the West Indies. He spent twenty-four years in Grenada and was involved in parish ministry during all that time. He served in Sauteurs, Gouyave, Victoria, River Sallee and Beaulieu. Frank was in River Sallee when Hurricane Ivan devastated Grenada in September 2004. He counted himself very fortunate that Hurricane Ivan spared the part of island in which he lived; the destruction around River Sallee was considerably less than in other parts. Frank’s final years in Grenada were spent in Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Beaulieu, where he worked with Fr Sean Doggett.
Ill-health forced Frank to retire to Ireland at the end of 2014. He went to live at St Patrick’s, Kiltegan. He adapted to community life at Kiltegan very easily and was a very popular member of the community. He accepted his new situation with serenity and calm. He enjoyed his retirement and was able to stay in touch with his family in Cork and in Antrim. He also did some pastoral work and often celebrated Sunday Mass for the residents of Ardeen Cheshire Home, Shillelagh, Co Wicklow. His health deteriorated significantly over the last two years and he went to live in the Care Unit at Kiltegan. He was admitted to Naas General Hospital on the evening of the 11th of October. He died peacefully on Friday afternoon, the 14th of October, 2022. At his bedside were Frs Joe Rabbitt and Jimmie McDonnell. He had been anointed earlier in the day by Fr Enda Kelly.
Frank was a very quiet, gentle and unassuming man who made no demands on anyone. He was blessed with a beautiful tenor voice and he enjoyed singing. He was a much respected member of the Senior Choir during his student days and was often one of the principal chanters at Sunday Mass. ABBA’s great hit Fernando became one of his party pieces. Frank is remembered as a very patient, fair and dedicated teacher who treated his students with the utmost respect and kindness. He was a very compassionate and caring pastor who was always there for the people. He was very proud of his family and loved to stay in touch with them.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Frank Morris
Frank was born in Donaghmoyne, Monaghan to Francis and Christina Morris on the 28th of February 1924. He received his early education from 1929 to 1937 at Donaghmore N.S. His secondary education from 1937 to 1942 was at St. Macartan’s Seminary, Monaghan.
He entered Kiltegan in 1942 and therefore belonged to the first class to do the Spiritual Year in Humewood. After ordination in 1949, he was appointed to Calabar Diocese where he ministered for the years 1949 to 1967. He worked as Bishop’s secretary and edited the Catholic Life magazine. From 1967 to 1970 he was in Kiltegan in a consultative capacity to the Superior General’s Council, especially in presenting position papers relating to the Extraordinary Chapter of 1969. From 1970 to 1972 he ministered in Mzuzu Diocese, Malawi. From 1972 he was Spiritual Director in Kiltegan. He died unexpectedly on the 4th of January 1980.
Place of Rest:
Bishop James Moynagh
A short account like this hardly does justice to James Moynagh who arguably had the highest profile of any member of St. Patrick’s Society. Born on 25th of April 1903 in Loughduff, Mullahoran, Co. Cavan, he received his early schooling at the local National School and his secondary education in St. Mel’s College, Longford. From there he proceeded to Maynooth, where he was ordained in 1930 for his local Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois. Providentially in that same year, Pat Whitney made an appeal for volunteers to aid in staffing what was then the Vicariate of Southern Nigeria. Five of the ordination class volunteered, four of whom would later exert a profound influence on the new Society. On the missions there was James Moynagh and Tom McGettrick with Paddy Costelloe and Corney Plunkett on the home front. James Moynagh ministered in the mission of Ifuho.
Having completed a tour of four years, he returned to his home Diocese of Ardagh in 1934 and was appointed a curate in Drumlish, Co. Longford. In the meantime, the provinces of Calabar and Ogoja were hived off from the Vicariate of Southern Nigeria with a view to being put under the aegis of the new Society.
Late in 1934, James Moynagh was appointed Prefect Apostolic of the new territory. As already noted, he was to become an imposing figure in every sense of the word, in that territory. Perhaps “vision” and “leadership” are the words generally used to describe him. Most adept at “reading the signs of the times”, he formulated policies which would pay rich dividends. In a tribute to him long afterwards, the Military Governor of Cross River State lists the many foundations attributed to him, schools of various kinds, hospitals and other projects to answer current needs. In 1947, the Prefecture of Calabar became a Vicariate, with James Moynagh as its first bishop. He was ordained bishop in Maynooth on the 7th of September 1947. In the following year, the opening ceremony of Calabar Cathedral was held on the 6th of June 1948. Calabar became a Diocese in 1950 when the Nigerian Hierarchy was established.
There was some destabilisation caused by the civil war in Nigeria and James Moynagh resigned as Bishop of Calabar in 1969. Once again he returned to his home Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois and ministered for some years in Annaduff, Co. Leitrim. However, he spent his last years in Kiltegan and died on the 11th of June 1985.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr John Moynihan
John – baptized John Pearse – was born on the 24th of June 1917 at Derrybrien, in the parish of Ballinakill near Loughrea, Co. Galway. After his primary education locally, he did his secondary studies in St. Joseph’s College, Ballinasloe from 1931 to 1936, the year he entered Kiltegan. After his spiritual year, he studied philosophy at St. Patrick’s College, Carlow before returning to Kiltegan to study theology. He was ordained there in December 1942 and in late 1943 he went to Nigeria where he was assigned to the then Prefecture of Ogoja. There, he would minister in the parishes of Bansara, Kakwagom, Mbube and Obudu. Ill health necessitated his return to Ireland in 1977. He took up a parish appointment for a year in St. Mary’s, Parish Limerick followed by two years in Kerry Diocese where he ministered in the parishes of Brosna and Sneem.
In 1980, he retired to Kiltegan and worked in the office. He was able to indulge his passion for classical music and was considered an expert in this field. John became seriously ill during Holy Week and died in Arus Mhuire, Drogheda on the 23rd of June 1998 - the eve of his 81st birthday.
Place of Rest:
Fr Joseph Mulcahy
Joseph Mulcahy was born on the 18th of July, 1951. He was the first of seven children born to Frank and Eileen (née O’Conor) Mulcahy of Somerton Park, Ballinlough, Cork. He attended Ballinlough Boy’s National School from 1956 to 1965 and then went to Christian Brother’s College for his secondary education. He went to University College Cork in 1971 and graduated with a B. Comm. Degree in 1975. Joe decided to become an accountant and trained and worked with four different accountancy firms in Cork and Dublin between 1975 and 1982. He became a member of the Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants in 1981 and a Fellow (FCCA) in 1986.
Meanwhile in 1982, Joe volunteered to work with the Medical Missionary of Mary Sisters in East Africa. Based in Makiungu, Tanzania, he visited the various MMM hospitals and communities in Tanzania and Kenya, audited their accounts and updated their accounting practices. He also trained local staff and liaised with donor agencies. In 1985, he carried out an internal audit and advised on financial management in Kitui Diocese in Kenya after which he returned to Ireland.Joe did a diploma course in Development Studies in Kimmage from 1987 to 1988. He had been thinking about priesthood and decided to come to Kiltegan in 1988. After the Spiritual Year, spent in Kiltegan, he did a one-year diploma course in Philosophy in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He then studied Theology at the Kimmage Mission Institute. Then he did one year of Overseas Pastoral Training in Lodwar, Kenya from 1992 to 1993. He returned to Kimmage to complete his Theology studies and was ordained deacon on the 12th of March, 1994, by Bishop John Buckley, then Auxiliary Bishop of Cork. He was appointed to St Joseph the Worker Parish, Kirkby, Liverpool, for three months of pastoral work as a deacon. Joe was due to be ordained in 1995 but decided to take a year out to reconsider his vocation. He returned to the Society at the end of 1996 with the intention of going ahead to priesthood. He was appointed to Grenada in July, 1997, for pastoral experience as a deacon and on his return to Ireland was ordained on the 6th of June, 1998. The ordaining bishop was Bishop Martin Drennan, then Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin and later to become Bishop of Galway. The ceremony took place in St Patrick’s Chapel, Kiltegan.
Joe was appointed to Kenya in 1998 and ministered first in Milimani Parish in Nakuru town. In 2001 he was transferred to Matobo, in Kericho Diocese. For health reasons he returned to Ireland in 2002. He was appointed to Knock where he worked with young men in recovery in the Cenacolo Community and with other youth groups from 2002 to 2008. Ill health forced him to return to Kiltegan. As he became less mobile he was admitted to the Care Unit in December, 2010.Having contracted polio at three years of age, Joe had continuous health problems throughout his life. However, he never let such problems define him. He qualified as an accountant; he worked as a lay missionary; he was ordained a missionary priest and fulfilled each role to the best of his ability. He always stretched his capabilities to the limit and never allowed his sense of humour to desert him. He demonstrated outstanding courage and patience and had a great understanding of others and their problems. He loved Kenya and longed to be able to go back there. He loved his family dearly and visited Cork as often as he could. Family visitors to Kiltegan brought him great happiness especially when his mother, Eileen, was with them.Joe was taken to hospital on Tuesday the 5th of April and he died peacefully on Sunday, the 10th of April, 2016. May he rest in peace.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Bill Mullaly
Bill was born on the 2nd of February 1916 in Mullinahone, Co. Tipperary. Having finished his primary education from 1921 to 1930, he studied in St. Kieran’s, Kilkenny from 1930 to 1934. In that year, he joined Kiltegan and was ordained in December 1940. Due to wartime restrictions he did not reach Nigeria until 1943, in the meantime having pursued studies in University College, Cork and Queen’s University, Belfast. On reaching Nigeria he ministered in St. Mary’s H.T.T.C., Ediene, in Holy Family College, Abak and was also Principal of St Patrick’s, Ikot Ansa.
In 1965, Bill transferred to Minna Diocese and became Principal of a newly established secondary school and later Principal of St. Malachy’s T.T.C., Minna. The year 1973 saw a change in Government policy on education, with the schools coming under government sponsorship – regarded by Bill as the end of an era. In that year, he returned to Ireland and to a teaching post in our House of Studies in Douglas, Cork. He remained there until it closed and the students were re-located to Maynooth. From there, he retired to his house, “Knocknagow” in Ballinlough, Cork. He died on the 28th of September 1990.
Place of Rest:
Fr Con Murphy
Con Murphy was born at Laurence Cove, Bere Island, Co Cork on the 21st of February, 1914. After primary education at the local National School he proceeded to St. Brendan’s Seminary, Killarney, and completed his secondary education at Presentation College, Cork.
He studied philosophy at Mungret College, Limerick after which he joined Kiltegan. With four others, he was ordained in December 1939. However, due to war restrictions on travel to Nigeria he did not travel there until February 1942. On the missions, he worked in Ogoja and Ikom.
Con died from typhoid on the 31st of July 1945. In a tribute, he was referred to as the second martyr of the Ogoja Prefecture. He is buried in the grounds of St Benedict’s Cathedral, Ogoja.
Place of Rest: Ogoja, Nigeria
Fr Joe Murray
Joe – baptized James Joseph – was born on the 4th of May 1920 at Clondalee, Hill of Down, Co. Meath. After his primary education from 1925 to 1934, he studied at St Finian’s College, Mullingar from 1934 to 1939, the year he began his Spiritual Year. In December 1945 he was ordained and after ordination he went to Nigeria, having been appointed to the then Prefecture of Calabar. He remained there for one tour, from 1946 to 1950. From the many stories with which Joe regaled his colleagues in Kenya, it seems he ministered in the missions of Edem Ekpat, Ifuho and Afaha Obong where, incidentally, the future Cardinal Ekandem was sent as Joe’s curate in 1947.
In 1950 Joe returned to Ireland on leave but spent it mostly on promotion work for the Society in Ireland. In December 1951 Joe was one of our five pioneer priests to enter new mission territory entrusted to the Society – Kenya. Joe was the only one of the group who had previous missionary experience. He soon adapted to a new environment which was somewhat different from what he had experienced in Nigeria and was an inspiration to those who laboured with him from the beginning and to the many others who came afterwards. In the words of a colleague, “he was a pastoral priest, approachable, genial, compassionate, a good listener; he made friends easily with members of all races and had a good memory for names. He made a deep impression on people by his kindly manner and engaging smile”. I think that tribute encapsulates all that we knew of Joe. Just as the strange names of his missions in Nigeria sounded mysterious to the casual listener, so the names of the places where he ministered will only resonate with those who are acquainted with the scene in Kenya– Nakuru, Eldoret, Majengo, Elburgon, Kitale, Tongaren. Joe also served as V.G. to two bishops of Eldoret over a period of twenty-one years. Around 1987, he gave up the active administration of parishes and concentrated on the apostolate of the sick, which necessitated both hospital and home visitation; because of the numbers involved this was a full time job and occupied him for ten years to 1997 when he retired to the Society house in Kapsoya, Eldoret.
In 1998, ill health forced his return to Ireland after a marvellous 46 years of missionary endeavour in Kenya. Joe died peacefully in Kiltegan on the 11th of June 2001.
Place of Rest: Kiltegan
Fr Raymond Murtagh
Raymond James Murtagh was born on the 5th of March 1932 to Patrick Murtagh and his wife Catherine (née Coonagh) of 18 Kilmorey Street, Newry, Co Down. He received his primary education first at St Clare’s Primary School, High Street (1936-1939) and then at the local Christian Brothers’ Primary School, Castle Street (1939-1944). He stayed at the Christian Brothers’ School for his secondary education and he sat the Senior Leaving in June 1950. He joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society in September 1950 and completed the Spiritual Year in June 1951. He then proceeded to St Patrick’s, Douglas, Cork, and attended UCC. He graduated with a BA degree in June 1954. He returned to Kiltegan for his theological studies and was ordained on Easter Sunday, the 6th of April, 1958 in St Mary’s Church, Killamoat. The ordaining prelate was Most Rev James Moynagh SPS DD, Bishop of Calabar, Nigeria.
After ordination Ray, along with two classmates, was appointed to the Prefecture of Eldoret, Kenya, where he would spend the following fifty-three years. The Society was working in the Prefecture for less than a decade before Ray’s arrival. There was no formal language course or any introduction to the culture and customs of the people at that time. This proved to be a challenge for Ray. At that time the Prefecture of Eldoret was a vast territory which later became five independent dioceses. Ray’s first appointment was to Kituro in Baringo. After a year he was appointed to Nerkwo where a different dialect was spoken. He taught in a school as well as helping in the local parish. In 1961 he was a member of the first Society team to be sent to the Turkana desert. His time there was brief but it made a lasting impression on him. After his short stay in Turkana he returned to Nerkwo.
Later Ray worked in Kaptagat and Mokwo where he lived with Maurice Crowley, the present Bishop of Kitale. He was assigned to Nerkwo once again and then worked in Iten and in Majengo. He spent a short period on promotion work in Chicago and enjoyed the experience very much as he was able to stay with his aunt. In 1983 Ray took a sabbatical and did a scripture course in Jerusalem as well as the Faith and Mission Course in Dalgan. In 1984 he spent a short time as part of the formation team in St Patrick’s, Douglas, Cork. He returned to Kenya in early 1985. He was appointed Assistant Regional Superior for East Africa and was based at the Regional House in Nairobi. When he finished as Assistant Regional Superior he returned to Eldoret and was stationed at the Cathedral. He was then appointed to promotion work in the USA and was based at the Society House in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. He spent one year in the USA before returning to his beloved Eldoret. He went to work at John XXIII parish where he remained until 2003. He was then appointed to the Society parish at Kapsoya on the outskirts of Eldoret. In 2007 he went to work in the Diocese of Kitale and served in the Cathedral parish and in Sirenda. His final years in Kenya were spent in semi-retirement at the Bishop’s House in Kitale.
Ray left Kenya in 2011 and retired in the family home in Newry. He enjoyed very good health and was available to offer support to his sister and brothers who shared the home with him. A visit to St Colman’s Cathedral for Mass and prayers was part of his daily routine. In 2019 his health began to decline and after a spell in hospital he was no longer able to live independently at home. He decided to move to Our Mother of Mercy Nursing Home about five hundred metres from where he was born and reared. He died peacefully at 10pm on Sunday, the 28th of August 2022.
Ray was a very warm, joyful, prayerful, thoughtful and devoted missionary priest. He was noted for his generous hospitality to all who called on his home. In his youth he was an excellent Gaelic footballer and he was a contemporary of many of the stars of the great Down team that won the All Ireland football finals of 1960 and 1961 and brought the Sam Maguire Cup across the border for the first time. It was widely believed in some quarters that if Ray had not become a missionary priest he may have been part of that history making team. He remained very close to his family throughout his life and it was his wish to live out his final years back among his own people. That wish was granted to him.
Place of Rest: Newry