FrJohn­wasa­good­man for­get­tingth­ings­done

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Fr John Flana­gan (1925-2018) – An Ap­pre­ci­a­tion by St Pa­trick’s Mis­sion­ary So­ci­ety, Kil­te­gan.

JOHN Joseph Flana­gan was born on April 20, 1925, to Owen Flana­gan and his wife Mary Catherine (née Nu­gent) of Rath­car­bery, Keady, Co Ar­magh.

He re­ceived his pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion at the Poor Clare Con­vent School and later at the De La Salle Broth­ers’ School, both in Keady. For his sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion he stud­ied at Ar­magh CBS be­fore trans­fer­ring to St Pa­trick’s Col­lege, Ar­magh. He joined St Pa­trick’s Mis­sion­ary So­ci­ety in Septem­ber 1943 and did the Spir­i­tual Year at Hume­wood Cas­tle. He stud­ied phi­los­o­phy at St Pa­trick’s, Kil­te­gan, be­tween 1944 and 1946 and then pur­sued a four-year course in the­ol­ogy at St Pa­trick’s.

He was or­dained along with 13 class­mates on April 9, 1950 (Easter Sun­day) in St Mary’s Church, Kil­lamoat. The or­dain­ing prelate was Bishop John W Hef­fer­nan CSSp, the re­tired Vicar Apos­tolic of Zanz­ibar.

Af­ter or­di­na­tion, Fr John was ap­pointed to the Dio­cese of Cal­abar, Nige­ria.

He worked there for 18 years. He be­gan in Essene with Matt Ma­grath and then went to work in Oron with Vin Han­ni­gan. His next ap­point­ment was in Urua Ak­pan. This was fol­lowed by some years in Eman Uruan where he built the Father’s House and a fine church. He spent a cou­ple of years in Ire­land on pro­mo­tion work in the early 1960s then re­turned to Nige­ria in 1964 and min­is­tered at Ikot Nseyen.

One of Fr John’s hob­bies was fish­ing. He loved to fish in the Cross River at a place called Ikot Of­fiong. He was dis­placed by the Nige­rian Civil War and was forced to re­turn to Ire­land.

In 1969 he took up an ap­point­ment in the Dio­cese of Down and Con­nor at Ahoghill, Co Antrim, and worked there un­til 1972.

He had a great de­sire to work in his home Arch­dio­cese of Ar­magh and this wish was granted in 1972 when he was ap­pointed to the parish of Tan­dragee. He lived at Mar­kethill.

Af­ter ten years, he was trans­ferred to Cook­stown Parish where he min­is­tered at The Rock. This was to be his home for the next 30 years. Fr John is re­mem­bered by the peo­ple whom he served as a friendly, self-suf­fi­cient man, in­ter­ested in farm­ing, hedg­ing and cut­ting logs.

As one parish­ioner noted: ‘Fr John was al­ways happy with a chain-saw in his hands!’

He was a very zeal­ous pas­tor who loved his peo­ple and served them with all his heart. While he was per­son­ally of the strict ob­ser­vance, he showed great com­pas­sion to those who ex­pe­ri­enced dif­fi­cul­ties in life.

Fr John was very much a man for get­ting things done. He had a great abil­ity to rally sup­port for his projects and was never with­out a will­ing and com­pe­tent work­force when it came to de­liver. He was very Christ-like in the way he reached out to the mem­bers of his flock.

He im­pressed every­one by his ded­i­ca­tion to prayer and to the spir­i­tual life. He made the sick and house­bound his spe­cial care, es­pe­cially in his later years.

Fr John en­joyed very good health for most of his life. In July 2012, at the age of 87, he be­came se­ri­ously ill and needed full time nurs­ing care.

He and his fam­ily de­cided that he would go to Fair­field Care Cen­tre in Cook­stown rather than to Kil­te­gan.

It meant he was near the peo­ple among whom he lived and whom he served for over 30 years.

In early May, his con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated. He died peace­fully at 10.30 on Wed­nes­day, May 23.

His fu­neral took place in St Pa­trick’s Church, Keady with burial in the lo­cal ceme­tery.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. Fr Tommy Leahy (1939-2018) – an Ap­pre­ci­a­tion by St Pa­trick’s Mis­sion­ary So­ci­ety, Kil­te­gan.

THOMAS (Tommy) Leahy was born on July 27, 1939,to John Leahy and his wife Nora (née Walsh) of Solo­head­beg, Dono­hill, Co Tip­per­ary.

He re­ceived his pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion at Greenane NS and at New­town NS. For his sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, he stud­ied at The Abbey CBS Sec­ondary School in Tip­per­ary town. He joined St Pa­trick’s Mis­sion­ary So­ci­ety in Septem­ber 1958 and completed the Spir­i­tual Year in June 1959. He went to St Pa­trick’s Col­lege, Douglas, Cork, in Septem­ber 1959 and at­tended Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Cork. He grad­u­ated with a BA de­gree in June 1962. He re­turned to Kil­te­gan for his the­o­log­i­cal stud­ies and was or­dained along with twelve class­mates on April 10, 1966 (Easter Sun­day) in St Mary’s Church, Kil­lamoat. The or­dain­ing prelate was Bishop Pa­trick Len­non, Aux­il­iary Bishop of Kil­dare and Leigh­lin.

Af­ter or­di­na­tion, Tommy was ap­pointed to the Dio­cese of Eldoret, Kenya, where he min­is­tered un­til 1969.

He served at Nerkwo and Iten. Af­ter his first tour, he was ap­pointed to parish work in the dio­cese of Brent­wood near London and min­is­tered in Gidea Park and in Chelms­ford.

In Septem­ber 1972, he was ap­pointed to Malawi and worked in Mzuzu Dio­cese. His first task was to learn the lo­cal lan­guage, Chi­tum­buka.

He taught for many years in St Pa­trick’s Ju­nior Sem­i­nary, Rumphi. He also worked in St Teresa’s Parish, Katete, St Paul’s Parish, Mz­imba, St Pe­ter’s Parish, Mzuzu, St Anne’s Parish, Chilumba and St Mary’s Parish, Karonga. In 1987 he was ap­pointed to work in the nearby Dio­cese of Chipata in Zam­bia.

There was an acute shortage of priests in Chipata at the time and Tommy an­swered the call. It meant learn­ing a new lan­guage, Chinyanja. He worked in Chassa. He re­turned to Mzuzu Dio­cese in 1989. He was ex­pelled from Malawi in 1992 for speak­ing out against the regime of the then Pres­i­dent, Hast­ings Ka­muzu Banda.

Once again, Tommy crossed over the Zam­bian bor­der and con­tin­ued his mis­sion­ary work in Chipata Dio­cese, this time in Katete.

Af­ter a sab­bat­i­cal in 1994, Tommy was ap­pointed to Gre­nada in the West Indies and worked in Tivoli, Car­ri­a­cou and Grand Roy. In 2004, he made the coura­geous de­ci­sion to re­turn to Mzuzu Dio­cese and re­mained there un­til 2009. He was based once again at St Pa­trick’s Ju­nior Sem­i­nary, Rumphi.

Ill-health forced his re­turn to Ire­land. He was based for a while in Kil­te­gan and helped in the Pro­mo­tion Of­fice. When his health im­proved he took up a pas­toral ap­point­ment in Bal­li­na­heglish, Co Roscommon (El­phin Dio­cese).

Tommy was known for his en­thu­si­asm, zeal and sin­cer­ity. He helped many peo­ple along the road of life.

He was a great friend of the lo­cal clergy in Malawi and was al­ways looking for ways in which he could help them. He was in reg­u­lar con­tact with former parish­ioners and col­leagues in Malawi.

Tommy was an un­apolo­getic sup­porter of his na­tive county. He was very proud to have the Tip­per­ary flag fly­ing from his car and was pas­sion­ate about the GAA.

He was a fine hurler in his youth and his love of hurl­ing re­mained undi­min­ished through­out his life. He was an ex­tremely ded­i­cated and com­mit­ted mis­sion­ary who was will­ing to serve wher­ever the need was great­est.

On Jan­uary 6, 2018, Tommy fell se­ri­ously ill as he was about to be­gin Mass. He was im­me­di­ately rushed to Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal Gal­way and his con­di­tion sta­bilised. Af­ter some weeks in Gal­way he was trans­ferred to Roscommon Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

He ar­rived in the Care Unit in Kil­te­gan in early March. How­ever, his con­di­tion never im­proved. He died on Wed­nes­day, May 23, at 4.45 p.m. His fu­neral took place in St Pa­trick’s, Kil­te­gan.

May he rest in peace.

The late Fr John Flana­gan.

The late Fr Tommy Leahy.

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