A HAPPY PRIEST There was sad­ness in Wex­ford last week as Mon­signor Lory Ke­hoe, who served as a priest around the county for decades, was laid to rest. re­ports

Wexford People - - NEWS -

THE DEATH of Mon­signor Joseph Lau­rence (Lory) Ke­hoe brought a real sense of sad­ness to peo­ple in many places, the Bishop of Ferns, De­nis Bren­nan told the con­gre­ga­tion at his funeral Mass on Satur­day in Clonard Church where he served as par­ish priest for al­most a decade.

‘Lory was a fa­ther figure in the Dio­cese and was held in great af­fec­tion and es­teem by all who knew him. His pas­toral style was one of gen­tle­ness and com­pas­sion,’ said the bishop.

Mon­signor Ke­hoe passed away peace­fully in Wex­ford Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal on Novem­ber 30, fol­low­ing a short ill­ness, hav­ing served as a priest in parishes of the Dio­cese of Ferns for over 50 years in­clud­ing Bal­ly­canew, New Ross, Clonard, Craan­ford and Gorey and also St Peter’s Col­lege and the St John of God com­mu­nity where he be­came chap­lain fol­low­ing his re­tire­ment from ac­tive min­istry.

His death also struck a chord in Sa­van­nah, Ge­or­gia where he made a num­ber of trips to ex­plore and doc­u­ment the links be­tween Wex­ford and Sa­van­nah. His book ‘County Wex­ford and Sa­van­nah, Ge­or­gia, 1848— 1860’ was in great de­mand in the south­ern Amer­i­can city.

Born in 1935, Mon­signor Ke­hoe was a son of na­tional school teacher Micheál Ke­hoe and Mar­garet Ke­hoe (née Wadding) of Glynn and a nephew of Fr Joseph Wadding. He was ed­u­cated at Glynn Na­tional School, St Peter’s Col­lege sec­ondary school and St Peter’s sem­i­nary, and was or­dained at St Peter’s Col­lege on May 31, 1959.

His first post­ing was to Bal­ly­canew, where he served from 1959 to 1969, and dur­ing his time there he was in­stru­men­tal in the build­ing of a new vil­lage school, which is still in use today. Fr Ke­hoe was trans­ferred to St Peter’s Col­lege as spir­i­tual direc­tor a week be­fore the of­fi­cial open­ing in Septem­ber 1969, which he at­tended.

He was ap­pointed cu­rate in New Ross in July 1976 and was pres­i­dent of St Michael’s Boxing Club in the town for two years when the club was get­ting on its feet. He was also in­stru­men­tal in the club’s move from the Scout Hall to its premises on Michael Street. He con­tin­ued to have an in­ter­est in St Michael’s even af­ter his de­par­ture from New Ross.

He be­came par­ish priest of Clonard in July 1985 and was in­volved in the plan­ning stages of the area’s com­mu­nity cen­tre. He be­came PP of Craan­ford in Septem­ber 1994. Four years later, in 1998, he was ap­pointed vicar gen­eral of the dio­cese of Ferns and the fol­low­ing year be­came par­ish priest of Gorey, where he served for a decade up to Au­gust 2009, when he re­tired. He was ap­pointed vicar forane in Fe­bru­ary 2000 and was given the rank of mon­signor in Septem­ber 2001.

Mon­signor Ke­hoe cel­e­brated the 50th an­niver­sary of his or­di­na­tion at a well at­tended func­tion in Gorey in 2009. A gath­er­ing of 64 clergy par­tic­i­pated in his ju­bilee Mass. The fol­low­ing year, he was in­vited back to Gorey to be hon­oured at a civic re­cep­tion hosted by Gorey Town Coun­cil.

Bishop Bren­nan said the past few months have taken a heavy toll on the dio­cese with the deaths of Fr Fin­tan Morris, Canon Matt Glynn and now Mon­signor Lory.

He de­scribed Mon­signor Lory as a happy priest with a pro­found love for the church. He had many in­ter­ests in­clud­ing the Ir­ish lan­guage, his­tory and Gaelic games but the burn­ing pas­sion of his life was the health and wel­fare of the church and its mis­sion to serve peo­ple.

‘Pri­est­hood wasn’t some­thing Lory did, it was some­thing he was wrapped up in. As we would say nowa­days, it was in his DNA, and he spent his life and tal­ents liv­ing it out in the ser­vice of God and peo­ple’, said Bishop Bren­nan.

‘Lory was a man of last­ing val­ues, a be­liever and a fol­lower. He was a man of God for whom faith and rea­son rhymed and for this we give thanks today.’

In ad­di­tion to his pas­toral ap­point­ments, he served the dio­cese in many other ways. In 1996 he was ap­pointed vicar gen­eral, a po­si­tion which brought a heavy work­load, ac­cord­ing to the bishop.

‘It was also a po­si­tion which de­manded sen­si­tiv­ity, dis­cre­tion and a lis­ten­ing heart. In those ar­eas he was never found want­ing and on a per­sonal level I have al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated his wise and kindly coun­sel,’ he said,.

‘We feel a sense of grat­i­tude today that he was a part of our lives for so long, part of the lives of so many peo­ple in the places he served and part of our spe­cial mo­ments as dio­cese.’

‘We would love if that could con­tinue but we know it can’t. There is a sad­ness in that but I think Mon­signor Lory would like us to re­mem­ber the happy times today – the matches in the park, the pri­ests’ re­unions, at home and abroad, the cler­i­cal gath­er­ings, his golden ju­bilee in Gorey eight years ago, the happy par­ish days in Bal­ly­canew, New Ross, here in Clonard, in

Mon­signor Ke­hoe re­ceiv­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion from GAA pres­i­dent Christie Cooney at the Glynn-Barn­town GAA Club’s 125-year cel­e­bra­tions in Oc­to­ber 2010. The pre­sen­ta­tion was made to recog­nise Mon­signor Ke­hoe’s ded­i­ca­tion to the club over the years.

The late Mon­signor Lory Ke­hoe.

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