A Time in History (January 16-31)

January 17



FR. MICHAEL CULLEN was born in 1925 at Tullysaran, County Armagh, Ireland. He died on January 17, 2006 at Craigavon Hospital, County Armagh. Educated at C.B.S., Armagh, Fr. Michael came to Dalgan seminary in 1942 and was ordained there in 1948. Assigned to the Philippines, he spent a total of forty-seven years on the Island of Negros, returning from there in 1997 to ‘retirement’ in his home parish where “he didn’t spare himself as long as work was available.” He endeared himself to all by “his gentle and unassuming manner and his deep spirituality nourished by personal prayer.” Fr. Michael “never forgot his roots and regarded the people at home as his partners in mission.” He is buried among his own at Knockaconey, County Armagh.



January 18



FR. JOHN J. LYNCH was born at Somerville, Massachusetts, USA in 1927. He died in his sleep on January 18, 1986 at Fort Devins, Massachusetts. Before coming to St. Columban’s in 1949, Fr. Jack served with the U.S. Army.  He was ordained priest at St. Columban’s Seminary, Milton, Massachusetts in 1956. He was appointed to the Philippines in 1957 and worked there until 1961. Returning to the U.S., he did diocesan work in Brooklyn, New York, and Omaha. He then did promotion work in Omaha, Los Angeles and Denver, and pastoral work in Westminster, California parish and St. John’s, Virgin Islands. In 1967, he joined the U.S. Army as a chaplain and did two tours of duty in Vietnam. He held the rank of Lt. Colonel and was on active duty at the time of his death. He is buried at St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Stoneham, Massachusetts.



January 20



FR. J. THOMAS CONNOLLY was born at Burren, Warrenpoint, County Down, Ireland in 1907. He died at Dalgan on January 20, 1981.  Fr. Tom was educated at St Colman’s College, Newry, Ireland before entering St. Senan’s College, Cahiracon in 1926. He came to Dalgan seminary in 1927 but did his last three years theology in St. Columban’s, Nebraska, USA where he was ordained priest in 1932. After his ordination, he was assigned to the Philippines where he worked for the next 44 years. In 1977, he returned to Ireland and acted as chaplain at Star of the Sea Convent in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, until 1979 when ill health forced his retirement. Fr. Tom is buried at Dalgan.




FR. THOMAS R. DWYER was born at Wellington, New Zealand in 1912. He died at Lower Hutt, New Zealand on January 20, 1974. Fr. Tom was educated by the Marist Fathers at St. Bede’s, Christchurch. In 1931, he began his studies at St. Columban’s, Essendon. He was ordained priest at Dalgan seminary in 1937 after completing his theology course there. Fr. Tom spent a year as Spiritual Director at Essendon before being appointed to the Philippines in 1939. While he was pastor of Labrador in 1950, guerillas captured and killed his assistant, Fr. Tommy Flynn. In 1952, Fr. Tom joined the Trappists in New Mexico but returned to the Columban Missionaries three years later. He was granted laicization but returned to the Society after some years. He worked in the U.S. before being assigned to New Zealand in 1972. At the time of his death he was in charge of THE FAR EAST office at Lower Hutt. He is buried at Taita, near Lower Hutt.



January 22



FR. FRANCIS J. LITTON was born at Glasthule, County Dublin, Ireland in 1918. He died suddenly in Dalgan Park on January 22, 1987.  Fr. Frank was educated at the Catholic University School, Dublin.  In 1935, he went to Dalgan seminary and was ordained priest in 1941. His first assignments were to the diocese of Galway and then to office work at St. Columban’s, Navan, Ireland. He then took an M.A. in Education in the U.S. before being appointed to the Philippines in 1951. In 1954, he was appointed to the U.S. Region and worked in Los Angeles. In 1964, he was appointed to the staff of St. Columban’s Seminary, Silver Creek, New York, and in 1968, to the staff at Dalgan.  From 1976 he did research on Frs. John Blowick and John Henaghan while he worked in the regional offices. Fr. Frank is buried at Dalgan.




FR. THOMAS L. MURPHY was born at Taunton, Massachusetts, USA in 1918. He died suddenly while visiting friends in New York on January 22, 1994. Fr. Tom began his education for priesthood at St. Columban’s, Silver Creek, New York in 1931 and was ordained priest in Providence, Rhode Island, USA on December 19, 1942. His first assignment was to study journalism at Columbia University, New York and Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1945, he joined the editorial staff of COLUMBAN MISSION. He was assigned to the Philippines in 1954 and worked in Mindanao until his recall in 1959 to the staff of COLUMBAN MISSION at Omaha. In 1967, he spent two years on the editorial staff of THE FAR EAST at St. Columban’s, Nth. Essendon. Returning to the U.S., he did pastoral work until his retirement through illness. Fr. Tom is buried at St. Anne’s Cemetery, Cranston, Rhode Island.



January 24



FR. ROBERT W. BURKE was born in Chicago, USA in 1923. He died on January 24, 2011. Fr. Bob graduated from Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in 1949 for the Archdiocese of Chicago where he worked for five years. In 1954, he was granted permission to join the Columban Missionaries. The following year he was appointed to the Philippines and spent eighteen years in Kabankalan, Negros. He worked at the Columban Seminary in Milton, Massachusetts, USA for four years before returning to the Philippines and serving a further eighteen years in Bacuyangan, Negros.  In 1993, he retired and returned to his family in Chicago. He served the Filipino Community there and assisted at Our Lady of Peace Church in Darien until he got ill.  He died three months later.  Fr. Bob is buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois, USA.




FR. JOHN DOOHAN was born in 1923 in the parish of Kilmurry, County Clare, Ireland. He died at St. Columban’s House, Manila on January 24, 2009 after almost 50 years of service to the people of the Philippines. After his secondary education at St. Flannan’s, Ennis, Fr. John came to Dalgan Park and was ordained there in 1947. His brother, Michael, also joined the Columban Missionaries and was likewise appointed to the Philippines. John’s first assignment was to Mindanao in 1948, after which, in 1950, he was a member of the pioneering team to Negros. There he spent almost 50 years developing and ministering in a number of parishes with enthusiasm and missionary zeal. His health eventually failed and he was forced to retire to Manila where he died in 2009.  Fr. John was laid to rest in the parish of Dancalan, Negros his last place of pastoral ministry, after a genuinely impressive farewell from his loyal people.