Obituaries of deceased members of St Patrick's Missionary Society, 1942 to 2020: Fullness of Life
A death in the family - Announcements and Funeral Arrangements
Fr Michael Dillon, 1937-2021
Sunday, February 7th 2021
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Fr Michael Dillon (1961 Class). Fr Michael died early this morning, Sunday February 7th, in Tallaght Hospital, Dublin. May he rest in peace.
Our sincere sympathy to the Dillon family in their grief at this time.
Funeral arrangements are as follows: Due to Government restrictions, the Funeral will be private. Funeral Mass in St Patrick’s Chapel, Kiltegan, on Wednesday, February 10th, at 12 noon, followed by burial in the Society Cemetery. The Mass will be live-streamed on https://www.mcnmedia.tv/camera/st-patricks-missionary-societyA password will not be needed to view the Funeral, it will be removed approximately 10 minutes before it begins.
Fr Michael Dillon (1937-2021)
Michael Dillon was born on the 12th of September 1937 to Patrick Dillon and his wife Mary (née Power) of Cuffesgrange, Co Kilkenny. He received his primary education at Cuffesgrange National School from 1942 to 1949 and then boarded in St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, for his secondary education, sitting the Leaving Certificate in June 1954. Michael came to Kiltegan in September 1954 for the Spiritual Year; he then studied philosophy in St Patrick’s College, Douglas, Cork, from 1955 to 1957. He returned to Kiltegan in September 1957 for a four year course in theology and was ordained priest at St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, on the 2nd of April 1961 (Easter Sunday). The ordaining prelate was Most Rev Patrick Cleary SSC, Exiled Bishop of Nancheng, China.
After ordination Michael was appointed to the Diocese of Eldoret, Kenya; it would be his home for the following 55 years. He began in Holy Rosary Parish, Nakuru, and then spent a short time in Lodwar which was a reserved area at the time: one needed special permission to enter the territory. After his stay in Lodwar, Michael returned to Holy Rosary Parish, Nakuru. In 1968 he was appointed to West Pokot where he would spend the next forty eight years of his life. He began in Ortum and then moved to Chepareria. He opened a new mission in Chepnyal in the early 1990s – it involved a two hour journey up a steep escarpment to reach his mission. He ministered there for fifteen years. During that time he helped build a school and a clinic with the assistance of the Daughters of Charity. In 1998 the Diocese of Kitale was carved from the Diocese of Eldoret and encompassed the vast territory where Michael worked. He spent most of 2007 in Ireland on medical leave, after which he returned to Kenya; this time he was appointed to the Society parish in Kibomet, on the outskirts of Kitale. Michael remained there until 2016 when ill-health forced him to return to Ireland after fifty five years of unbroken service to the people of Kenya. He decided to retire in Kiltegan.
Michael was a very warm, sincere, prayerful, gentle and committed missionary priest. He devoted himself completely to the people he was sent to serve: He learnt their language and studied their culture and customs, and felt very much at home among them. He used his many talents for the benefit of the local people, and took a special interest in catechetics, education and healthcare. He left behind communities well formed in the Christian faith as well as some fine schools and clinics. Michael’s rich prayer life was the centre of his priestly ministry; the Eucharist and the Rosary were the bedrock of his spiritual life. During his retirement in Kiltegan he had more opportunities to pray and he took them all with great joy and enthusiasm. He remained very close to his family throughout his life and he loved his regular visits to Cuffesgrange, where his faith and his vocation had been nourished.
Towards the end of 2020 Michael was diagnosed with a serious illness and he moved to the Care Unit in Kiltegan. He was admitted to Tallaght Hospital on the 31st of January where he died peacefully during the early hours of Sunday, the 7th of February 2021. At his bedside were his sister Mary and his niece Gemma Dillon.
Michael was predeceased by his sister Marguerite and by his brother Andy. He is survived by his sisters Mary and Kate (Halligan), by his brothers Joe and Anthony, by his sisters-in-law Brigid, Mary and Jacqui, by his brother-in-law Michael Halligan, by his nieces, nephews and their families.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr Joseph Flynn, 1944-2021
Tuesday, January 19th 2021
With sadness we announce the death of Fr Joseph (Joe) Flynn (1970 Class). Joe died peacefully in the Care Unit at 4pm today, Tuesday, January 19th. May he rest in peace.
A password will not be required to watch the Mass, it will be removed approximately 10 minutes before the beginning of the Mass.
Fr Joseph (Joe) Flynn (1944-2021)
Martin Joseph (Joe) Flynn was born on the 8th of November 1944 to Martin Flynn and his wife Elizabeth (née Martin) of Tents, Drumkeeran, Co Leitrim.He attended Cartron National School in nearby County Roscommon from 1950 to 1958, and received his secondary education at St Patrick’s College, Cavan, where he was a boarder from 1958 to 1963. He came to Kiltegan in September 1963 for the Spiritual Year. He then studied philosophy in St Patrick’s College, Douglas, Cork from 1964 to 1966. Joe returned to Kiltegan in September 1966 for a four year course in theology and was ordained priest at St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, on the 29th of March 1970 (Easter Sunday). The ordaining prelate was Bishop James Moynagh SPS, Retired Bishop of Calabar, Nigeria.
After ordination Joe was appointed to the Diocese of Eldoret, Kenya, and worked in Chepareria during his first tour. In 1974 Joe was appointed to promotion work in the USA and was based at the Society House in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. He returned to the Diocese of Eldoret in 1978 and was appointed Parish Priest of Kobujoi in the Nandi Hills. In the mid 1980s he moved to St Joseph’s, Kitale. His last appointment in Kenya was in Tartar where he worked with the local community to build a church at Kanyalykan.
Joe returned to Ireland in 1995 because of health issues. His vision had become seriously impaired and he was unable to drive. He settled first in Leeson Park and became leader of the community there for a short while. Joe then discovered a new ministry to people with special needs and found scope for his many gifts as chaplain to the L’Arche Community in the Sutton area of Dublin. He moved to an apartment near the L’Arche Community and lived there for many years. He also linked up with a L’Arche Community in Uganda and made several visits to that country.
Joe was very much a people’s person. He was noted for his ability to spend time with people in a very unhurried and relaxed manner. This quality became evident when Joe was a student. He gathered other students around him for conversation. He was instrumental in setting up the first coffee dock in the Theology House in Kiltegan. And the coffee dock was very fittingly called JOE’S. The name lived on long after Joe had been ordained. It became a focal point for sharing, conversation and relaxation among the student body. Joe’s easy and relaxed style with people came to the fore during his four years on promotion work in the USA. He spent hours visiting homes, listening to people’s stories and building up a network of friends and benefactors for the Society. Many of these friendships forged in the 1970s remained with Joe up to the end of his life. He loved the outdoors and derived great pleasure from hill walking; he was in his element climbing hills and belting out a song in the company of his friends.
Joe retired to Kiltegan in 2014. When his health declined further and he became incapable of independent living he moved to the Care Unit. From 2020 onwards he was confined mainly to his room, no longer able to go for his long walks. This was a cause of great sadness for him. He became seriously ill in January 2021, and died peacefully on the evening of Tuesday, the 19th of January. At his bedside were his nephew Barry Flynn and some of the staff of the Care Unit.
Joe was predeceased by his sisters Sr Amadeus (Marist Sister) and Mary, by his brothers Noel and Killian and by his brothers-in-law Patsy Croal and Don Gullickson. He is survived by his sisters Lily Croal (Ballyshannon) and Catherine Gullickson (Canada), by his sisters-in-law Peg and Mary, by his nieces and nephews and their families.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr James Patrick Bohan, 1926-2020
Sunday, December 20th 2020
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Fr James Patrick (JP) Bohan (1953 Class). JP died peacefully in the Care Unit in St Patrick's, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow on Sunday evening, December 20th. May he rest in peace.
Our sincere sympathy to Fr Benny SPS, JP's brother and to all the Bohan family.
A password will not be required to watch the Mass, it will be removed approximately 10 minutes before the beginning of the Mass.
Fr James Patrick (JP) Bohan (1926-2020)
James Patrick (JP) Bohan was born on the 17th of August 1926 to Michael Bohan and his wife Mary (née McGlynn) of Cloonfad, Rooskey, Co Roscommon. He was the second eldest of a family of nine two of whom joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society. He attended Cloonfour National School from 1930 to 1940 and went on to Summerhill College, Sligo, for his secondary education. He sat the Leaving Certificate in 1944. He joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society in September of the same year, and did the Spiritual Year in Humewood Castle beside Kiltegan Village. He then studied philosophy for two years at St Patrick’s College, Kiltegan, before going to St Patrick’s College, Douglas, Cork in September 1947. JP was a member of the first class of Society students to study at University College Cork. He obtained a first class honours B A degree from UCC in 1949 and returned to Kiltegan for a four year course in theology. JP was ordained in St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, on Easter Sunday (5th of April) 1953. The ordaining prelate was Most Rev John W Heffernan CSSp, Vicar Apostolic Emeritus of Zanzibar, Kenya. (In 1960, JP’s brother Bernard (Benny) was ordained in the same St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, as a member of St Patrick’s Missionary Society.)
After ordination JP was appointed to Kenya where he would spend the next 60 years of his life. Commitment to education was a life-long focus of his priestly ministry. He taught in many schools throughout his six decades as a missionary in Kenya. He began his teaching career in St Joseph’s Teacher Training College in Kitale. This was followed by a short period in Mother of the Apostles Junior Seminary which at that time was based at Matunda. He started a Harambee Secondary School on the outskirts of Kitale in 1965 and moved to Nakuru in 1966. He taught in Nakuru Day Secondary School and Loreto School between 1966 and 1983. He then had a change of career serving at the Catholic Secretariat in Nairobi for six years, during which he lived at the Regional House in Nairobi. JP returned to his beloved Nakuru in 1990 and was based at Mlimani. He taught once again in various schools in the Nakuru area. In 2000 he moved to the Society House in Kiamunyi and continued his ministry in schools. He spent 2007/2008 in Ireland on medical leave; during that time he produced a book entitled Fullness of Life which contained short biographies of all Society members who had died between 1942 and 2008. Having completed 60 years of missionary service in Kenya, JP returned to Kiltegan during the summer of 2013. This was a very hard decision for him to make as he had a profound love for the peoples of Kenya and for their culture. The beauty and majesty of the Kenyan countryside never ceased to evoke a sense of awe and wonder in him and he felt truly privileged that this was the place he called home for all those years.
JP was a gifted teacher who dedicated himself totally to his students. He got deep personal satisfaction from his decades in the classroom. It was as if there was chalk on his hands the day he was born. He had a deep influence on the many young teachers whom he taught and was a source of inspiration for them in their own careers. JP had a prodigious memory which he retained right up to the end of his life. He had no peers when it came to facts and figures. He could recite poems and extracts from Shakespeare at will. He was a very loyal friend who had a deep respect for the opinion of others. He remained very close to his family throughout his life. Despite being far away in Kenya he was always in close contact with them. JP had a great love of sport especially GAA and rugby; he could name every member of the victorious Roscommon team of 1943. Daily exercise was very important to him. He jogged every day until he was well into his 70s. He also enjoyed swimming.
JP spent seven happy years around Kiltegan in retirement. He took a full part in community life in the early years. When his health began to fail he moved to the Care Unit. He continued to have a great interest in everything that was happening in the community. He loved to join the 8 am Mass in St Patrick’s Chapel each morning. The latter years gave him even more opportunities for interaction with his family, something he appreciated very much. On Sunday the 6th of December he got weak during Mass and asked to return to his room. His condition deteriorated over the following days. He died peacefully at 9.15pm on Sunday, the 20th of December.
JP was predeceased by his sisters Maureen (Traynor), Detta (Sheerin), Angie (Mlsek) and Patricia, by his brother Matty, by his sisters-in-law Eileen and Mary, by his brothers-in-law Jimmy Traynor, Tom Sheerin and Brian Mlsek. He is survived by his sister Helen McLoughlin, by his brothers Micheál and Fr Benny SPS, by his sisters-in-law Joan and Helena, by his brother-in-law Michael McLoughlin, by his nieces and nephews and their families.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr Francis McElhatton, 1946–2020
Tuesday, November 24th 2020
With sadness we announce the death of Fr Frank McElhatton (1975 Class). Frank died on Tuesday morning, November 24th at Enniskillen General Hospital after a short illness. May he rest in peace.
Our sincere sympathy to Frank’s family and friends.
Funeral arrangements are as follows: Mass in St Colmcille’s Church, Carrickmore, Co Tyrone on Wednesday (25th of November) at 11am followed by burial in adjoining cemetery. The funeral will be available at the following link:
Fr Frank McElhatton (1946-2020)
Francis (Frank) McElhatton was born on the 25th of April 1946 to James McElhatton and his wife Mary (née Coyle) of Mullaslin, Carrickmore, Co Tyrone. He received his primary education at Mullaslin National School from 1951 to 1962. Frank then went to train as a nurse in St Bernard’s Hospital, Southall, Middlesex, London. It was while in Southall he discerned his vocation to become a missionary priest. He went to St Patrick’s College, Buchlyvie, Scotland, in September 1965 and he joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society in September 1968. He was ordained by Bishop Francis Lenny, Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh on June 7th, 1975 in St Colmcille’s Church, Carrickmore, Co Tyrone.
After ordination Frank was appointed to the Diocese of Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria. His stay there was very short due to ill health. He had no option but to return to Ireland very soon after his arrival in Ikot Ekpene. He ministered for some time in his native Archdiocese of Armagh. He was based at Bessbrook in Co Armagh. The late 1970s was a very difficult time in Northern Ireland and Frank witnessed some terrible atrocities during his time at Belleeks and Bessbrook. Once again he developed serious health issues and he was forced to leave the parish. He was appointed to St Patrick’s, Buchlyvie, for a number of years and there he helped in the formation house. He retained very strong ties of affection for Buchlyvie throughout his life. He also spent some time at St Patrick’s, Kiltegan, hoping for an improvement in his health.
Frank had to make the difficult decision to retire from active ministry at a relatively young age. He went to live with his family who took great care of him and offered him wonderful support. He lived with his mother in the family home during the last years of her life. After her death Frank moved to nearby Carrickmore where he would spend the rest of his life.
He developed his own special ministry in Carrickmore. His personal holiness and devotion were very much appreciated by the local people who went to him for Masses and prayers. He was noted for his prayerfulness and his devotion to the rosary. A steady stream of people came to his home with petitions for Masses and prayers. Frank found a deep satisfaction from being able to offer this ministry to his family and to the people of Carrickmore.
Frank accepted his poor health with faith and resignation. He was not one to complain. The shadow of the cross was a constant presence in his life. There were frequent stays in hospital. He became seriously ill about a week before his death and was taken to Enniskillen General Hospital where his condition deteriorated further. His nephew Pearse was called to his bedside during the early hours of Monday, the 23rd of November. Frank died peacefully on Tuesday morning, the 24th of November.
Frank is survived by his sisters Mary Brigid Donaghy, Kathleen, Bernadette and Philomena, by his brothers Jimmy, Kevin and Alphonsus and their families.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr Patrick Kelly, 1934–2020
Friday, October 30th 2020
With sadness we announce the death of Fr Patrick Kelly (1959 Class) peacefully this morning, Friday October 30th, in Áras Mhuire, Drogheda, Co Louth. He was surrounded by members of his family, by some MMM Sisters and by Áras Mhuire staff. May he rest in peace.
Our sincere sympathy to his family and friends and to the MMM Sisters and staff at Áras Mhuire Staff.
The funeral arrangements for Fr Patrick Kelly are as follows:
Due to Government restrictions only 25 people will be able to participate in Fr Pat’s Funeral Mass. It will take place in St Patrick’s Chapel, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, on Monday, November 2nd at 12 noon followed by burial in the Society Cemetery. The Mass will be live-streamed on https://www.mcnmedia.tv/camera/st-patricks-missionary-society (a password will not be needed to view the funeral) and on the Society’s Facebook Page.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr Patrick Kelly SPS (1934-2020)
Patrick (Pat) Kelly was born on the 24th of April 1934 to James Kelly and his wife Mary (née Sweeney) of The Octagon, Westport, Co Mayo. Pat was the youngest in a family of four boys. He came to Kiltegan in September 1951 and was ordained with 23 classmates on the 23rd of May 1959. The ordaining prelate was Bishop Thomas McGettrick SPS, the Bishop of Ogoja.
After ordination Pat was appointed to the Diocese of Calabar, Nigeria, where he ministered for 6 years. From his earliest days he showed a great interest in languages and in the culture of the people. In 1965 he was sent to do a course in social anthropology at Linacre College, Oxford. His professor was the renowned social anthropologist Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard who regarded Pat as one of his finest students. As part of his studies Pat went to live among the Turkana People of Northern Kenya. During this time he produced a dictionary of the Turkana language and also became proficient in Kiswahili. In 1971 he was appointed to Rome to study theology. He graduated from the Angelicum University in 1973. Pat’s next appointment was to St Patrick’s College, Kiltegan, where he taught mission theology until 1979. This was followed by a number of years lecturing in the Theology Faculty of St Peter’s Major Seminary, Zomba, Malawi. Pat then returned to Ireland and was based in Kiltegan. He was available for a number of years as a retreat director and travelled all over the country giving retreats. In 1986 he was appointed to Brazil. Within a very short period he became very fluent in Portuguese. He worked in a number of parishes in São Paulo. He returned to Ireland in 1992 and devoted himself to studying the works of Hans Urs von Balthasar, a Swiss theologian and spiritual writer. He produced many booklets which aimed to put the teachings of von Balthasar into more accessible language. He also resumed his work as a retreat master. Pat went to Africa again in the late 1990s and spent some time in the Cameroun. He ministered at Fuanantui. Once again he immersed himself in the language and the culture of the people. After returning from Cameroun Pat went to live at Leeson Park and continued his private studies in spirituality. In 2001 he was appointed Chaplain to Áras Mhuire, a Nursing Home run by the Medical Missionaries of Mary beside their Mother House in Drogheda. It was there he spent the rest of his life.
Pat was a deeply spiritual man who devoted his whole life to the pursuit of personal holiness. He was a man of deep conviction and total sincerity. He was a gifted linguist and very fluent in several languages. Pat was a very caring and compassionate man. His 19 years as Chaplain at Áras Mhuire were the happiest and most fulfilling years of his priestly ministry. He really blossomed and flourished as he attended to the residents and staff at Áras Mhuire. He was a noted preacher and his sermons at daily Mass were very well received by all who heard them.
Pat’s health deteriorated in mid-October 2020. He died peacefully in Áras Mhuire on the morning of Friday, the 30th of October, surrounded by members of his family, by some MMM Sisters and by Áras Mhuire Staff.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr Michael O'Brien, 1943–2020
Wednesday, August 19th 2020
With great sadness we announce the death of Fr Michael O'Brien (1969 Class). Michael died at St Vincent's Private Hospital, Dublin, on Wednesday evening, August 19th. May he rest in peace.
Our sincere sympathy to Michael's family and friends.
Michael Benedict O’Brien was born on the 5th of December 1943 to James O’Brien and his wife Josephine (née Dooley) of Streamstown, Killyon, Birr, Co Offaly. He received his primary education at Killyon National School (1947 to 1957). For his secondary education he boarded at St Finian’s College, Mullingar, Co Westmeath (1957 to 1962). Michael came to Kiltegan in September 1962 and completed the Spiritual Year in June 1963. He then went to St Patrick’s College, Douglas, Cork, for a two year course in philosophy, and returned to Kiltegan in September 1965 for his theological studies. He was ordained priest on the 6th of April 1969 (Easter Sunday); the ordaining prelate was Most Rev Patrick Lennon, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.
After ordination Michael was appointed to the Diocese of Kitui (Kenya) where he ministered for the following eight years. He worked at the Boma in Kitui Town, at Mutito, at Ikanga, at Nuu and at Zombe. He also taught for a short time at Mwingi Harambee School. Michael left Kitui in 1977 and went to study at the University of Manchester, England. During his time there he completed a Diploma in Community Development and was awarded an MA in Education. For the next twenty five years Michael spent most of his time involved in development work, working in Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Somalia. During those years he worked with Relief and Development Agencies like the Lutheran World Federation, Trócaire and UNESCO Somalia. He also spent a year in St Mary of the Angel’s Parish, Bayswater, London. In 2003 Michael returned to Kenya and resumed his pastoral ministry as a priest, working in Mukuru slum in Nairobi, in Kiio parish in Kitui Diocese and in Kiamaina parish in Nakuru Diocese.
Michael returned to Ireland in 2013 and retired to Glasthule, Co Dublin. He underwent treatment for a serious illness in 2013, making a good recovery. In July 2020 he became ill again and was admitted to St Michael’s Hospital, Dún Laoghaire. Later he was transferred to St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Dublin, where his condition deteriorated. His family were called to his bedside on Wednesday, the 19th of August. He died peacefully that evening.
Michael was a great searcher, full of questions. He enjoyed conversing with others and exploring new ideas. He was the life and soul of every party he attended and loved to tell a good story. He was a very passionate person and a real force of nature, while a deep commitment to the poor and the marginalized underpinned all aspects of his life. His love of hurling was legendary: nothing gave him greater pleasure than attending juvenile hurling matches with his family and watching the next generation exhibit their skills in the game that had a very special place in his heart. Offaly’s success in hurling in the 1980s and 1990s filled him with pride and joy. Michael remained very close to his family throughout his life and regular visits to the community where he had grown up were very important to him. He had a deep appreciation of the history and culture of his native place and remained a proud Offaly man throughout his life.
Michael was predeceased by his sister Mary (Fanning), by his brother Denis and by his sisters-in-law Nuala and Kathleen. He is survived by his twin sister Terry (Quinn), by his brothers Jimmy, Francis, Dermot and Joe, by his sisters-in-law Anne and Marie, by his brother-in-law Bob Quinn, by his nieces and nephews and their families.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr Brian Twomey, 1935–2020
Thursday, July 23rd 2020
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Fr Brian Twomey (1960 Class) who died peacefully on Thursday evening, July 23rd, at his home in Stirling, Scotland. May he rest in peace. Our sincere sympathy to his sisters Sr Deirdre Twomey MMM and Ms Una Twomey and all his family.
The funeral arrangements for Fr Brian Twomey (1960 Class) are as follows:
Brian Joseph Twomey was born on the 28th of April 1935 to Jerome Twomey and his wife Hilda (née Marsden) of Crofta, Croesfaen, Pontyclun, Cardiff, Glamorgan, South Wales. He was the youngest of a family of six children, one of whom died in infancy. He received the earlier part of his primary education at De La Salle Primary School, Cardiff. In 1942 he went to Gilling Castle in Yorkshire for the remainder of his primary education (A Prep School for Ampleforth College). From 1946 to 1948 he attended the Junior House of Ampleforth College. He completed his secondary education at St Bede’s House, Ampleforth, graduating in 1952. He joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society in September 1952 and completed the Spiritual Year in June 1953. He then went to St Patrick’s, Douglas, Cork and studied at University College Cork where he graduated with an honours degree in Philosophy and French in 1956. Brian was sent to Rome for his theological studies in September 1956. He lived at the Irish College and attended the nearby Lateran University. He was ordained a priest in the Lateran Basilica on the 12th of March 1960. The ordaining prelate was Archbishop Luigi Traglia, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome.
After ordination Brian was appointed to the Diocese of Ogoja, Nigeria, where his sister Sr Deirdre MMM was already working as a missionary doctor. He spent the first three months in parish work in Izzi with the late Jackie Boylan and then began a long teaching career in secondary schools. His first appointment was as Principal of Ikom County Secondary School. He then spent a short time with Ciaran O’Flynn at Iboko before moving to Boki Boys Secondary School, Okundi, where he taught with Michael Browne. He obtained a Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of London in 1970. His next appointment was to the Staff of St Patrick’s College, Buchlyvie, Scotland where he taught English Language, English Literature. French, Geography, Latin, Plainchant and Drama. He returned to the Diocese of Ogoja in 1975. He was immediately seconded to the newly created Diocese of Abakaliki to serve as rector of St Augustine’s Junior Seminary, Ezzamgbo. He taught at Ezzamgbo until 1983 when he returned to Ogoja Diocese. From 1984 to 1990 Brian found himself once again in the classroom. He taught in various secondary schools in the Diocese including St Brendan’s, Iyamoyong and Ugep Technical School.
In the early 1990s Brian launched into a new ministry. He began to specialize in spiritual direction and student formation. To prepare himself for this new ministry he participated in the Religious Formation Ministry Programme at Loreto House, Dublin and also did courses in spirituality and spiritual direction. He returned to Nigeria and was appointed to the Formation Team of St Paul’s Missionary Society at the National Missionary Seminary in Abuja. He served as spiritual director there from 1992 to 1997. When St Patrick’s Missionary Society decided to welcome students from Africa and Brazil, Brian was an obvious choice to be part of the pioneer team at the Society’s newly established formation house near Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria. Brian, Tom Ryan and Martin Eke MSP welcomed the first Nigerian students in 1997. He worked in the formation ministry of the Society in West Africa until 2004 when he left Nigeria. In May 2005, Brian took up residence in Stirling, in the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and spent the next ten years assisting the late Joe Millar by helping out at Holy Spirit Church. After retiring from parish work in 2015 he continued with his ministry of spiritual direction, retreat giving and mentoring.
Brian’s peers admired his ability to adapt so easily to the frugal life in Kiltegan after the splendour and comfort of Ampleforth and of his home in Cardiff. He came from a different culture to the majority of his fellow-students. This aspect of his personal experience made Brian particularly suitable for formation work. One of his former students who is now a priest member of the Society will never forget Brian’s message to him and to his classmates: “we are not going to turn you all into black Irishmen!” Brian had a great respect for difference and for the uniqueness of every person. He wanted everyone to reach their true potential. He was a deeply spiritual man. He came from a very close knit family where the Christian virtues were deeply ingrained. He was prayerful, sensitive, firm, courageous, intelligent and eloquent. He encouraged the students entrusted to him to be open, prayerful, respectful, cultured and sensitive to others.
Brian was forced to retire from active ministry due to ill health in 2016. He continued to live in Stirling where he was cared for by his life-long friend Ms Carolyn Wallis. Brian died peacefully on the 23rd of July after a long illness borne with patience and fortitude. He was predeceased by his sister, Sr Mary John (Maureen) OCD and by his brother Richard (Dick). He is survived by his sisters Oonagh and Sr Deirdre MMM, by his sister-in-law Sighle, by his nieces and nephews and their families.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr Peter Hegarty, 1945–2020
Thursday, July 16th 2020
It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of Fr Peter Hegarty (1980 Class) this morning, July 16th, at his home in Coolagown, Fermoy, Co Cork. Our sincere sympathy to Peter’s family and friends. May he rest in peace.
The funeral arrangements for Fr Peter Hegarty are as follows:
Requiem Mass on Monday, the 20th of July, at 11 am in St Mary's Church, Coolagown, Co Cork. Burial in the Society Cemetery, Kiltegan, at approx 4pm.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions the Requiem Mass will be for the immediate family only.
The Mass will be live-streamed through the Facebook Page of Ronayne Funeral Directors, Fermoy, Co. Cork.
Peter Oliver Hegarty was born on the 28th of November 1945 to John Hegarty and his wife Bridie (née Lenihan) of Coolagown, Fermoy, Co Cork. He received his primary education at Kilmagner National School from 1952 to 1961. He then went to work in O’Sullivan’s Garage, Fermoy, where he served as shop assistant, costing clerk and receptionist. It was during this time he felt the call to priesthood. In 1971 he went to St Patrick’s College, Buchlyvie, Scotland for further education. He sat his GSE exams in 1973 after which he came to Kiltegan for the Spiritual Year. He studied philosophy in St Patrick’s College, Douglas, Cork between 1974 and 1976. He returned to Kiltegan in September 1976 for a four year course in theology, and was ordained with his five classmates at St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, on the 7th of June 1980. The ordaining prelate was Most Rev Thomas McGettrick SPS, Bishop of Abakaliki, Nigeria.
After ordination Peter was appointed to the Diocese of Mzuzu, Malawi, where he would spend the following thirty years. He worked in many parishes in the Diocese, among them Rumphi, Mzimba and Chilumba. In the mid 1990s he was expelled from Malawi and was transferred to the Diocese of Chipata, Zambia, where he ministered in Kanyanga. He returned to Malawi in 1998 and spent the next 12 years in Chilumba. He was instrumental in building a beautiful Church at Chilumba which served as a temporary Cathedral for the newly formed Diocese of Karonga.
Peter was a very caring, compassionate and kind missionary priest. He helped improve the quality of life of many communities through the projects he set up during his time in Africa. He got great support from his local community in Fermoy and was able to fund many projects through the generosity of his neighbours and friends back home. He also had a keen interest in education and through his generosity many young people were able to further their education. He passed on his love of sport to the youth and he was very involved in a football team in Chilumba. He organised local football competitions and he enabled some talented footballers to realise their potential. Peter returned to Ireland in 2010 and lived at his family home in Coolagown. He helped out in local parishes and also did promotion work for the Society in Munster when requested.
Peter was an outstanding athlete in his youth. He came from a family with a deep interest in cycling, and he had the distinction of beating the great Sean Kelly in a race in the Mardyke during his student days in Cork. Even on the missions he was never far from a bike. On returning home in 2010 he took up his great hobby again. He often told people that the highlight of his cycling career was winning the Matt Lenihan Shield, named for his late uncle. A trip of 80km was no bother to him. Peter was cycling right up to the end of his life. He was a very good humoured and witty person and was always in jovial mood. He had an ability to sum up a complex situation in a few words. He had a great love of his family and felt very privileged to be living beside many of them. He had a keen appreciation of nature and nothing pleased him more than to cycle through the country roads of Cork and Waterford giving thanks to God for the beauty of the landscape and for the wonders of creation. He was an avid reader and had a special interest in contemporary spirituality.
Peter died suddenly at his home on the morning of Thursday, the 16th of July 2020. He was predeceased by his parents John and Bridie and by his sister Lucy. He is survived by his sisters Sheila (O’Brien), Breda (O’Flynn), Carmel (O’Connor), Emily (Jackson), Jo (McDonagh), Mary (Higgins), Ann (Hally), Bernadette (Ahern) and Angela (O’Regan), by his brothers Matt, David, John, Frank and Henry, by his sisters-in-law, Marie and Valerie, by his brothers-in-law, Ted O’Flynn, John O’Connor, Peter Jackson, Seamus McDonagh, Michael Higgins, Tony Hally, Dave Ahern and Anthony O’Regan; by his nieces and nephews and their families.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr Patrick Connolly, 1947–2020
Monday, June 22nd
With great sadness we announce the sudden death of Fr Patrick (Pat) Connolly (1971 class) in St Patrick’s, Kiltegan, on Monday morning, June 22nd. May Pat rest in peace.
Predeceased by his sister Teresa (O’Hare, Cullyhanna) and by his brother Felix (Athlone). Sadly missed by his sister Mary (Portstewart), by his brothers Peter (Roslea), Joe (Portstewart) and Eugene (Omagh), by his sisters-in-law Annie, Mary, Eileen and Mairead, by his brother-in-law Jimmy O’Hare, by his nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, his relatives and friends and by his Society family.
Fr Patrick (Pat) Connolly was born on the 18th of April 1947 to Patrick Connolly and his wife Mary Ellen(née Tierney) of Cordoola, Roslea, Co Fermanagh. He received his primary education at St Tierney’s Primary School, Roslea (1951-1958). For his secondary education he boarded at St Michael’s College, Enniskillen (1958-1964). He came to Kiltegan in September 1964 for the Spiritual Year. He then studied philosophy in St Patrick’s College, Douglas, Cork from 1965 to 1967. Pat returned to Kiltegan in September 1967 for a four year course in theology and was ordained priest at St Mary’s Church, Killamoat, on the 11th of April 1971 (Easter Sunday). The ordaining prelate was Most Rev Patrick Lennon DD, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.
Pat was appointed to Brazil in July 1971. After language studies in Anápolis (State of Goiás) he went to work in the parish of Cotia on the western side of São Paulo, where he had responsibility for the Vargem Grande section of the parish. He remained in that area until 1979 when he was appointed to the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife (State of Pernambuco) in the North East of Brazil. He worked in the parish of São Lucas in Ouro Preto. He then transferred to the Diocese of Campina Grande in the State of Paraiba where he worked in the parish of Nossa Senhora do Bom Conselho (Esperança) from 1988 to 1993, and in the parish of Nossa Senhora das Graças (Campina Grande) from 1993 to 1999. The Society opened a new mission in the Diocese of Juina (State of Mato Grosso) in 1999 and Pat served in the Cathedral Parish there for almost three years.
In 2002 Pat was appointed Director of Retirement at Kiltegan, a post he held until September 2005. He returned to Brazil in January 2006 and was based at the Central House in São Paulo. He served as Bursar for the Region, was Vocations Director and helped out in local parishes. He was called home again in February 2009 and returned to the post he had previously held, the Director of Retirement. In 2012 Pat went to work in the Diocese of Clogher and served in his home parish of Roslea. In June 2015 he was appointed Assistant House Leader at St Patrick’s, Kiltegan, and also Irish District Bursar. He finished his term as Assistant House Leader in 2018 but continued as Irish District Bursar until his death.
Pat was a big man with a big heart. He was affectionately known by all as Big Pat or Patricião (in Portuguese).He was very kind, helpful and obliging. He made himself available to serve the Society in whatever capacity he could. He had a great command of the Portuguese language and was very much at home with the people whom he served. He enjoyed the interaction with the people in the parishes where he worked and was noted for his sense of humour and for his efficiency. Wherever he worked he encouraged the people to become self-reliant. He put great emphasis on catechetics and produced a very practical manual which was the basis of a formation course for catechists. He was a very neat worker and paid great attention to detail; meticulous in everything he did. One of his favourite Portuguese words was “caprichar”: to do things with taste and style.
As Director of Retirement in Kiltegan Pat made a great contribution to the quality of life of those who were sick and of those who were near the end of life. His kindly and gentle presence was very much appreciated by all. He often filled in as a carer in the days before the establishment of the Care Unit. Pat went to great lengths to make sure the sick members of the community received the care and attention they needed. He was also a very dedicated and efficient District Bursar and helped many members to manage their financial affairs. He derived a lot of personal satisfaction from this work as District Bursar; he enjoyed getting the books to balance! The role gave him an opportunity to give expression to his innate desire for tidiness and order.
Pat died suddenly on the morning of June the 22nd. Shortly after breakfast he went to visit his classmate and great friend, Fr Tom McDonnell, who was in quarantine in Slí an Chroí on the Kiltegan Compound and near his office. Pat was checking out if Tom needed anything. He was obliging and thoughtful to the very end. Words from George Herbert’s poem, Love, come to mind:
“But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked anything.”
Pat was predeceased by his sister Teresa (O’Hare) and by his brother Felix. He is survived by his sister Mary, by his brothers Peter, Joe and Eugene, by his sisters-in-law Annie, Mary, Eileen and Mairead, by his brother-in-law Jimmy O’Hare, by his nieces and nephews and their families.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr Billy O'Carroll, 1932–2020
Wednesday, May 20th 2020
We are sad to announce that St Patrick’s Father William (Billy) O’Carroll died peacefully in St Patrick’s, Kiltegan, on Wednesday, May 20th.
The funeral Mass for Fr Billy O'Carroll will take place in St Patrick's Chapel, Kiltegan, on Saturday, 23rd of May at 11am (local time). It will be followed by burial in the Society Cemetery. Following Government Guidelines only 10 people will be allowed to attend Billy's Funeral Mass.
William Arthur (Billy) O’Carroll was born on the 22nd of June 1932 to John O’Carroll and his wife Nora (née O’Leary) of 68 Strand Street, Tralee, Co Kerry. He was the youngest of the family. He had five older sisters. All of them predeceased him. He received the first two years of his primary education at the local Presentation Convent. Billy then went to Tralee CBS for the rest of his primary education and continued there for his secondary education. He came to Kiltegan in September 1952 and after the usual courses in philosophy and theology he was ordained on the 23rd of May 1959. The ordaining prelate was Most Rev Thomas McGettrick SPS, Bishop of Ogoja.
After ordination Billy was appointed to Ogoja Diocese (Nigeria) where he worked until 1979. His first pastoral placement was at Ishigu with fellow Kerryman, Donal O’Sullivan. This was followed by a short period as Father in Charge at Ikwo. Billy then moved to St Patrick’s Parish, Kakwagom. During his time at Kakwagom he went on the famous Boki Trek. On one of those treks from Boje to Bauncher he got lost for two days in the forest and was a very relieved man when local people eventually found him exhausted and badly dehydrated. He also worked in Ugep/Obubra, Wanakom, Maryknoll, Ogoja and Obudu. Billy was very involved in community development as well as pastoral work. He was displaced during the Biafran War and made good use of that time. He did a course on Community Development at The Coady International Institute which was part of St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Canada. When he returned to Ogoja he became the Diocesan Development Coordinator, a post he held for many years. Through his ability to write up projects and access funding many communities in the Diocese were helped. He acquired garri machines and rice machines for a number of rural communities. He set up a bakery in Ogoja Town. He was also involved in setting up St Isidore’s Agricultural Training Centre in Ogoja. These projects helped to improve the quality of life of many people.
The difficult climate in Nigeria took its toll on Billy’s health and he left Ogoja in 1979. He was appointed to Promotion Work in Scotland and England and was based at St Patrick’s, Buchlyvie, Scotland. During the following years he visited many parishes in England and Scotland preaching about the missions and inviting people to become partners in the Society’s work. In 1989 he was appointed to Grenada, West Indies. It would be his home for the next twenty six years. He worked in St David’s, Sauteurs, Grenville, Carriacou, Crochu, True Blue and at the Cathedral. One of his finest achievements during those years was the establishment of Our Lady of Fatima Shrine at Battle Hill. The shrine became a place of pilgrimage for the people of Grenada and it helped to foster Marian devotion among the people.
Billy had a special talent for promotion work. He learned his trade during the ten years on the road in Scotland and England. While in Grenada he went to the US every year to raise funds for the Diocese. He was very successful. He had great personal charm and was a gifted story-teller. His sincerity and human warmth shone through and touched the hearts of his listeners. Billy’s talent was really put to good use after Hurricane Ivan hit the Island in September 2004. The Cathedral lay in ruins. Bishop Vincent Darius gave Billy the special task of raising funds to restore the Cathedral. This was a mission that Billy undertook with great joy and pride. Billy was also a very keen walker. He started a tradition in Grenada of leading the people on pilgrimage through the towns of the Island. The pilgrimage ended with a big rally at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine at Battle Hill. Even while at home on holidays he liked to walk. In 2000 he walked the Ring of Kerry to raise funds for his projects. Much to Billy’s delight this feat made its way into the pages of The Kerryman.
Billy retired to Kiltegan in the summer of 2015. He settled into life there very well. He used this time of quiet and reflection to write his memoir which he called The Walk of Life. It was full of interesting stories about the places where he had been and the projects he had been involved in. Billy was a very undemanding person. He lived a very simple life. He enjoyed the company of others and loved to tell a good story. He was unfailingly joyful, courteous and kind. He was always ready with a witty retort. His health deteriorated in early February of 2020 and he moved to the Care Unit at Kiltegan. He died peacefully there on the 20th of May 2020.
Billy was predeceased by his sisters Margaret (Pearl), Maureen, Brigid (Tott) (O’Grady), Kitty (O’Connor) and Esther (Fernane). He is survived by his nieces and nephews and their families.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Fr Joseph Millar, 1945–2020
Tuesday, March 31st 2020
With great sadness we announce the death of Fr Joseph (Joe) Millar (1974 Class). Joe died peacefully yesterday, Tuesday, March 31st, in Strathcarron Hospice, Stirlingshire, Scotland. May he rest in peace. Our sincere sympathy to Joe's family, friends and parishioners.
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
The Rite of Christian Burial for Fr Joseph Millar will take place on Tuesday 7th April. Fr Kyran Murphy will officiate. The service is strictly private due to Coronovirus regulations. There will be a Memorial Mass in Scotland for Fr Joseph at a later date. May Joe rest in peace and rise in glory.
Many of his Kiltegan brother priests throughout the world will also offer Mass for Fr Joe on Tuesday, April 7th, as will many of his brother priests in Scotland. Fr Andrew Kingham will offer Mass at 12 noon for Fr Joe Millar - live streamed from St Mary's, Stirling, Scotland. To view go to: https://www.facebook.com/StirlingStMarys/
A Mass of Thanksgiving for Fr Joe's life and ministry, to which all will be invited, will be held at a later date.
Obituary, Fr Joe Millar (1945 – 2020)
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. After leaving school Joe trained as a baker and worked for five years in the profession. He was very involved in his local parish and was a leading member of the youth group. 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 was ordained in Our Lady’s Church, Stoneyburn, on the 12th of June 1974.
After ordination Joe was appointed to Malawi where he ministered in the Diocese of Chikwawa. He worked in Molere and in Ngabu. He was also appointed Vocations Director for the Diocese. He returned to Scotland in 1978 to become Vocations Director for the Society in Scotland. 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 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. He died peacefully in Strathcarron Hospice on the 31st of March.
May he rest in peace.
Fr Thomas Barrett, 1938–2020
Friday, March 6th 2020
With sadness we announce the death of Fr Thomas Barrett, this morning, March 6th, peacefully in the Care Unit at St Patrick’s, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow. Our sincere sympathy to Tommy’s family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh anam uasal.
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Reposing in St Patrick’s Chapel, Kiltegan, on Sunday, March 8th, from 3pm to 5pm, with prayers at 5.30pm. Funeral Mass on Monday at 12 noon followed by burial in the Society Cemetery.
Fr Tommy was born on the 9th of June 1938 in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare. He came to Kiltegan in September 1956 and was ordained on Easter Sunday (29th of March) 1964. After ordination he was appointed to the Diocese of Ogoja in Nigeria where he taught in a number of secondary schools. He was displaced by the Biafran War in 1967 and spent a year in Ireland during which he took a correspondence course in electrical engineering.
Tommy was appointed to the Diocese of Kitui, Kenya, in 1968. He was Manager of Kitui Polytechnic from 1973 to 1988 and was Manager of the Diocesan Workshop from 1988 to 1999. He was then appointed to the Diocese of St George’s in Grenada, West Indies, where he served on the Island of Carriacou for many years. During his time in Grenada he set up an income generating project where people made small souvenirs from stained glass and sold the items to the thousands of tourists who visited Grenada every year. Ill-health forced him to return to Kiltegan in December 2018. He settled into life around Kiltegan very well even though his mobility was limited.
Tommy was a great hurler and footballer in his youth. He had the distinction of playing hurling and football at minor grade for his native County Clare. He was gifted with his hands and was a wonderful mechanic. He spent many years helping to train young mechanics in Kitui. He also serviced every car and pick-up on the Kitui Diocesan Fleet. He was a very jolly, hospitable and obliging man who enjoyed other people’s company.
May Tommy rest in peace.
Fr Patrick Joseph (PJ) Melican, 1949–2020
Saturday, February 15th 2020
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Fr PJ (Patrick Joseph) Melican, peacefully this morning, February 15th, in Naas General Hospital. Our sincere sympathy to Fr PJ's family, relatives and friends. May PJ rest in peace.
The funeral arrangements are as follows:
Reposing in the Care Unit, St Patrick's, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow (Eircode W91 Y022) on Monday, February 17th, from 3pm to 5pm with removal to St Patrick’s Chapel at 5.30. Funeral Mass on Tuesday at 12 noon followed by burial in the Society Cemetery.
Fr PJ, from Co Clare, joined St Patrick’s Missionary Society in September 1967 and was ordained on the 7th of June 1975 by Bishop James Moynagh SPS, retired Bishop 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 also served in the local parish. Ill-health forced him to leave Nigeria in 1993. He was appointed to the Archdiocese of 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 a year 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. He spent some time with his family in Co Clare and later at Carrigoran House Nursing Home before coming to the Care Unit in Kiltegan in 2001. It was there he would spend the rest of his life.
PJ was a very strong man in his youth. He was a very keen Gaelic footballer and soccer player and was noted for his great commitment. He settled into life in Abakaliki with ease and enjoyed his time teaching at St Augustine’s Junior Seminary. By the early 1990s he began to lose power in his arms. He was soon diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease which would gradually curtail his movement. 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 with amazing courage. He continued to be interested in sport and was very proud of his nephew, Damien Hayes, who played for many years on the Galway Senior Hurling team. PJ was taken to Naas General Hospital on Thursday, the 13th of February. He died peacefully in the early hours of Saturday, the 15th of February.