A Time in History (December 1-12)

December 2


FR. SHAUN O’DONNELL was born in Derry City, Ireland on August 2, 1937 and died in Dalgan on December 2, 2011. He joined Dalgan seminary in Ireland in 1956 and was ordained priest on December 21, 1962. After language studies Father Shaun was appointed to Mindanao, Philippines. He served as parish priest in Aurora, Malabang and San Pablo. Then he served in Bonifacio and Jimenez until he was appointed to Mission Awareness/Promotion in Britain from 1984 to 1988. Re-appointed once more to Mindanao in 1989, he was in charge of the house in Cagayan de Oro and did hospital chaplaincy work, before being appointed as parish priest to Agusan where he spent ten years. As a special ministry, Father Shaun established a programme for children with impaired hearing. This later became an Archdiocesan programme. In 2002, he was appointed as guest-master of the Baguio house and served there until sickness forced his return to Ireland and the Columban Nursing Home, Dalgan Park in 2009. He bore his debilitating illness with humour, courage and patience.  Father Shaun is buried in Dalgan Park.


Father Shaun in his younger years


December 5


FR. JOHN O’CARROLL was born at Dromahair, County Leitrim, Ireland in 1898. He died in Dalgan on December 5, 1972.  Father Jack did his secondary studies at St. Patrick’s College, Cavan [1913-17], before going to St. Patrick’s College, Carlow, Ireland to study for priesthood. He entered Dalgan seminary in January 1918 and was ordained priest there in 1923 and assigned to Hanyang, China. He was a delegate to the 1947 General Chapter after which he did promotion work in Ireland [1948-49] and parish work in England [1949-53]. He was appointed to the Philippines in 1954 but failing health forced him to return home in 1965.  Father Jack was an uncle of Columban Fr. Harry O’Carroll.  Father Jack is buried in Dalgan Park.



December 6


FR. FRANK CAREY was born in Caulfield, Melbourne, Australia on 19th August 1937, son of Paul Carey and Marion Farrell. After local primary schools and Christian Brothers College he joined the Columbans and was ordained on December 13, 1962. Assigned to the Philippines, he supplied in parishes in Mindanao before four years with Fr. Peter Steen in Iligan. From 1969 to 1976, he was in Australia, chaplain to overseas students, promoting Columban mission and priesthood. He had a year in Tambulig before coming to Manila and doing campus ministry work, with terms as chaplain at Philippine Women’s and Far Eastern Universities. In 1991, he was assigned to Australia, as lay mission and vocations coordinator, and in mission awareness.  Back in the Philippines he reveled in the Center for Ecozoic Living and Learning in Silang. In 2011, he became house manager in Baguio. There he became ill with cancer and on December 6, 2014 this calm, gentle priest died at Manila Doctors’ Hospital.  Father Frank is buried at Loyola Cemetery, Parañaque, Philippines.


Frs. Frank Carey (right), John Hishon (left) and another Columban priest



December 9


FR. RICHARD GRIMME was born in 1915 at Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA.  He died on December 9, 1994 at St. Columban’s, Silver Creek, New York. Having studied at Altoona Catholic High School he went to St. Columban’s Bristol in 1934. He studied philosophy in Silver Creek, theology in Nebraska and was ordained priest in 1940. His appointment to China in 1941 was not fulfilled due to war conditions, so he did promotion work in the Midwest until his appointment to the Philippines in 1945.  With the exception of brief assignments to the U.S. Region, Father Dick, as he was called, ministered in Mindanao until 1971 when he was appointed to the U.S. He retired to his sister’s home in 1983 and to Silver Creek in 1990, where he is buried.



December 12










FR. EAMONN BYRNE was born in Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland on July 23, 1929. He was ordained on December 21, 1953. Appointed to the Philippines, he was assigned to Labrador, Pangasinan. From 1957, he was Chaplain at University of the East and Far Eastern University, Manila. He spent periods as Director of Student Catholic Action in Manila, and in 2007 he published a history of that dynamic movement under the title, “Columbans in Student Catholic Action, Philippines 1937-2007”. In 1974, for three years he worked to develop the Columban apostolate to the Filipino community in the US. Returning to Pangasinan in 1977, he worked in the parishes of Lingayen, Naguelguel, Labrador and Sual until 1988 when he became Columban Director of Vocations in Luzon followed by six years on Mission Awareness. His last appointment in the Philippines was to the Parish of Malate, Manila, where he served from 2000 to 2007, when he returned to the Retirement Home at St Columbanʼs, Navan, Ireland.  A man of great charm and good humour, he was a popular pastor and worked very well with young people.  As long as his health permitted, he was an enthusiastic member of the retired Columbans in Dalgan, ever willing to lend his support and encouragement to any new initiative.  Father Eamonn died at St Columban’s Nursing Home, Dalgan Park, Ireland on December 12, 2015.