Spiritans who have gone to their reward in 2015

Five Irish Spiritan priests died in the period January to March 2015.

Michael Buckley C.S.Sp. (83) was from Moyvane in north Kerry and spent his life in the home mission. See

Michael McCarthy C.S.Sp. (93) ministered in Africa and the USA before returning to Ireland. He was a native of Kenmare. See

Tim Connolly C.S.Sp. (86) served in Africa, Ireland and, for over twenty-five years, in Canada. He is buried in his home town of Charleville. See

Paddy Cleary C.S.Sp. (80) was from Borrisokane. He served in Africa, and in a number of roles in Ireland.  See

Bertie Egan C.S.Sp. (82), a Dubliner, served in three continents including Australia. See

Subsequent Spiritan deaths in 2015 included those of:

Savino Agnoli C.S.Sp.  (83) - Born in Italy, the young Savino moved with his family to Ireland and studied in St. Mary’s College, Rathmines.  A professional musician for a short time, he joined the Congregation in 1955 and was ordained in 1961.  He served from 1962 until 1970 in a pastoral role in Nigeria where he was part of the largest group of Irish Spiritans in any mission country at that time.  Having had to leave at the end of the civil war along with many other Spiritans, he was then appointed to Ghana where he would serve from 1971 until the late 1990s. 

Kevin Browne C.S.Sp.  (83) -  Born in Tralee and raised in Dublin, Kevin studied at Willow Park and Blackrock College. In line with the then custom for Irish Spiritan seminarians, he later ‘prefected’ in a third Spiritan school in Ireland, St. Mary’s College, Rathmines. Ordained in Fribourg (Switzerland) in 1960, he was appointed to Nigeria the following year and would serve in teaching roles and as director of a junior seminary. After the civil war,  he ministered in London, the U.S.A and Mauritius before returning to Willow Park where he would teach until 2005.

Seán Casey C.S.Sp.  (77)  - From Mayo, Fr. Seán was ordained in Kimmage in 1965. Apart from a year in a US parish while at Fordham University, his missionary service was primarily from Ireland in education / formation, leadership, chaplaincy and, for no less than 15 years, as Director of Vocations. He served as President / Manager of two Spiritan schools, Rockwell College (Co. Tipperary) and – later – Blackrock College.  He gave numerous retreats across Ireland.  Earlier this year, he was one of 17 Spiritans who celebrated the Golden Jubilee of their ordination.

Martin Collins C.S.Sp.  (83) -  A Co. Galway man, Fr. Martin was one of 25 Spiritans ordained in 1958. On completion of a pastoral year in Ireland immediately after his ordination, he sailed from Liverpool in 1960 with 9 fellow Irish Spiritans bound for either Nigeria – as he was – or Sierra Leone. After the civil war, he left West Africa in 1967 and undertook studies in England. He later moved to Paraguay but his time there was cut short when the political situation became too unsafe for missionaries. He served in the U.S.A. from 1974 until the mid-1990s.

John Egan C.S.Sp.  (76) – From Dublin city and a past student of Blackrock College, Fr. John was ordained in 1967 by Archbishop McQuaid. Having ‘prefected’; in Trinidad, his first appointment was to Mauritius. Moving to California, he served as a chaplain and teacher and completed his M.A. He would serve with the US Air Force before moving to England in 1992 where he was a teacher / chaplain until 2004. Returning to Ireland, he pursued an MA in the University of Limerick with a focus on Irish church liturgy and traditional Irish music.

Larry McHugh C.S.Sp. (95) - The oldest member of the Irish Province when he died in December, Fr. Larry was a native of Co. Laois. Having spent a short time with the Christian Brothers after secondary school, he entered the Spiritan novitiate in 1944 and was ordained in 1951.  In education ministry in Nigeria from 1952 to 1967 followed by a short period in an English diocese, he served in St. Michael’s Junior School in Dublin from the early 1970s until his retirement (as Principal) in 1991. He remained active in his community until his mid-80s.

Frank Mulloy C.S.Sp.  (90) – From Westport, Fr. Frank, who had by then recovered from both rheumatic fever and TB, was ordained in 1953. Appointed to Blackrock College, he later moved to Nigeria, serving in education / formation including in the School of Theology in Isienu.  Returning to Ireland, he spent over 20 years on the staff of the Spiritan school, Templeogue College. Having already undertaken parish work in Canada and the US during school holidays, he ministered in a pastoral role in California and he undertook further studies in Berkeley.

Mattie Murphy C.S.Sp.  (82) – Bandon-born and raised in Tralee,  Fr. Mattie was ordained in 1961. Appointed to Nigeria, he taught there until the outbreak of the civil war. In 1971, he moved to The Gambia, beginning a relationship of over 40 years with the small West African country, one highlight of which was his meeting with the visiting Pope John Paul II in 1992. At his Funeral Mass, it was noted that Fr. Mattie had ‘shared the little income he had with those knocking at his door, paying school fees and making sure that needy families had daily meals’. 

Joe Prendergast C.S.Sp.  (87) -  Limerick-born, Joe grew up in Dublin; he went on to win an All-Ireland medal with the Dublin minor hurlers.  Ordained in 1954, his first appointment was to Nigeria in an educational role. During the civil war, his tasks included distributing resources sent by the Superior General to refugee camps and he served in Uli, unloading Caritas relief planes.  Moving to the US, he spent a total of over 40 years in pastoral ministry in California. In 2011 he received the "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” papal award for distinguished service to the Church.