Spiritan News

Six Irish Spiritan priests have died in the period January – June 2017


Fr Willie Walsh

Fr. Willie Walsh C.S.Sp.

Aged 95 and the oldest member of the Irish province when he died,  Fr. Willie was from Glanworth, Co. Cork. Ordained in 1949, he was appointed to Sierra Leone where he would spend over 15 years (in CTC Bo, Njala Komboya, Bonthe, Moyamba and Damballa). Returning to Ireland in 1967, he was appointed to Templeogue College where he taught for a little under 20 years.  He also made his expertise available as a volunteer teacher of computer students in SPIRASI. He died on 19th June 2017 in Marian House.


Fr. Jack Finucane C.S.Sp.

From Limerick city, Fr. Jack was a young parish priest in Nigeria in the late 1960s who later acknowledged that his experience of the Biafran War there “would forever change his life”.  He soon moved from pastoral roles to emergency relief & development work, and would be a key figure in Concern Worldwide from soon after its setting up in 1968.  As well as leading Concern’s operations in Bangladesh and in Ethiopia for several years, he was directly involved in responding to some 20 emergencies including Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and tsunami-affected Sri Lanka. He died on 7th June 2017.

Fr. Jack Finucane C.S.Sp. and President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin in 2014


Charles McCarthy C.S.Sp


Fr. Charles McCarthy C.S.Sp.

From Bantry and a past-pupil of Rockwell College, Fr. Charles McCarthy C.S.Sp. served in Ireland, Kenya, the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius and in the USA where he worked in a number of parishes in the Diocese of Peoria (Illinois). In his earlier ministry, he had been a secondary school teacher; former students in Mauritius include Cardinal Maurice Piat C.S.Sp. and Seychelles-based Bishop Denis Wiehe C.S.Sp. He died on 1st May 2017, aged 93.


Fr. Joe Gough CSSpFr. Joe Gough C.S.Sp.

A native of Co. Kilkenny and a past-pupil of Rockwell College, Fr. Joe Gough C.S.Sp. was appointed to the Gambia in west Africa when newly ordained. Actively committed to Christian / Muslim dialogue, he served in educational and vocations-related roles for over a decade. On his return to Ireland, he began a long association with Blackrock College, as teacher and games-master, while summer holidays were spent in an American parish. Aged 72, he died in March. 


Fr Tom Farrelly CSSpFr. Tom Farrelly C.S.Sp.

Fr. Tom Farrelly C.S.Sp. was from Co. Westmeath, and spent over a decade on mission in Kenya. The holder of a Ph.D. in Education, he was an Inspector of Schools for the country’s Ministry of Education in the early 1970s and was joint editor of a series of Kenyan religion textbooks. He was Education Coordinator for the Spiritans in Ireland for many years and was a founding member of what is now the Spiritan Education Trust. He died in January, aged 91.


Fr Paddy Foley CSSpFr. Paddy Foley C.S.Sp.

From Co. Wicklow, Fr. Paddy Foley C.S.Sp. died in January. He was aged 90. Ordained in 1954, he served almost continuously in Nigeria from the following year for a little under 60 years, and was the last Spiritan of the Irish Province to minister in the west African country. He had been Co-ordinator for Justice & Peace in the Diocese of Makurdi, and served in Abwa Rural Training Centre in Benue State from 1971 until returning to Ireland at the end of 2014.