A Time in History (March 8-16)

March 10

leahy FR. JOHN LEAHY was born near Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland in 1932. He died at Middlesex Hospital, England on March 10, 1977.  Father John studied [1945-50] at De La Salle College, Loughrea, County Galway before becoming a Post Office clerk. In 1954, he entered Dalgan seminary where he was ordained priest in 1960. He was assigned to the Philippines and worked in Mindanao until he was forced to return home in 1976 for a serious operation. Father John is buried at Dalgan Park.




Fr. John Leahy (1971) with convent boys

March 11


FR. RICHARD CANNON was born in 1928 at Buffalo, New York. He died in a Los Angeles hospital on March 11, 2002. Father Dick had a varied and fruitful life. His first contact with Columbans was in 1944 at Silver Creek. Part of his formation for priesthood was at Dalgan seminary as an exchange-student. After ordination at Milton in 1954, he obtained his doctorate in Canon Law in Rome and then taught at Silver Creek and Milton, USA until 1963 when he was appointed to a Columban school in Whitby, England. He graduated June 1960 from Boston College with a B.A. in Mathematics.  With the closure of Whitby, Father Dick was assigned to the Philippines where “he saw education as the way out of the poverty trap and laboured to provide the best facilities for high school and college”.  From 1975 to 1983 he was Director at St. Columban’s College, Olongapo. He spent almost thirty years in Zambales where he was District Superior for two terms. From 1995 he served as Regional Bursar for five years. He returned to the U.S. in 2001 where he was house bursar in Los Angeles. Burial was at Silver Creek, New York.


March 13

godsil FR. WILLIAM GODSIL was born in Cork City, Ireland in 1920. He died suddenly at Dalgan on March 13, 1999. He was educated by the Presentation Brothers prior to going to Dalgan Seminary where he was ordained on December 21, 1945. Assigned to China, Father Liam spent three years as diocesan secretary to Bishop Galvin in Hanyang. He was expelled by the Chinese Communist regime in 1949 and went to the Philippines where he worked for almost forty years in various roles – secretary to the Apostolic Nuncio, secretary to Bishop Cronin in Ozamis, Student Chaplaincy and Regional Bursar. He did pastoral work in Mindanao and Zambales. His parish of Pili was devastated by the Mt. Pinatubo volcano in 1991. Father Liam also spent a brief period (1972-73) in the regional offices in N. Essendon. He retired to Ireland from the Philippines in 1992 and is buried at Dalgan Park.




hartford FR. DESMOND HARTFORD died peacefully, after a long illness, at Dalgan on March 13, 2004. Born at Lusk, County Dublin, Ireland, Father Des did his secondary studies at De La Salle College, Skerries, and entered Dalgan Seminary in 1961. After ordination at the Pro-Cathedral, Dublin in 1967, he was assigned to the Philippines “whose people taught me much about life and love, patience and generosity.” He undertook the difficult task of molding better relations between the Muslim and minority-Christian communities. Elected as a member of the General Council in 1988, he was called in 1991 to serve as Apostolic Administrator of Marawi. Kidnapped in 1997 and held hostage for 12 days by rebel returnees, he experienced “that powerlessness is often the occasion of the Lord’s strength.” In his final illness Father Des gave “an eloquent witness of patience, courage and serenity.” Burial was at Dalgan Park.



Fr. Desmond Hartford (in blue jacket) after being released from kidnapping


March 14

clifford FR. JOHN CLIFFORD was born in Chicago in 1927. He died on March 14, 2006 at San Diego, California.  After his studies at St. Leo’s, Collegeville, Father Jack began his preparations for priesthood at Bristol [1947-‘48], Omaha [1948-‘50], Dalgan Seminary [1950-‘53] and Milton [1953-‘54].  After ordination in 1953, he did a Credit Union Course in the University of Wisconsin. Appointed to the Philippines, Father Jack served in Zambales, Negros and Malate. Assigned to the U.S. in 1984, he worked briefly with the Philippine Apostolate in Chicago and then transferred to San Diego for parish work. Father Jack is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, San Diego, California.



March 15


FR. PATRICK CAMPION was born at Rathdowney, County Laois, Ireland in 1924. He died of a heart attack in Pagadian, Philippines on March 15, 1989. Having studied at St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, Ireland, Father Pat entered Dalgan Seminary in 1942 and was ordained priest there in 1948.  He was assigned to the Philippines and worked in Mindanao until he was elected Vicar General at the 1970 Chapter. After the 1976 Chapter, he became Superior of the Priests’ Home, Dalgan, until 1980 when he returned to Mindanao. Father Pat, who was a brother of Columban Con Campion, is buried at Dumalinao, and re-interred in the cemetery chapel in Paglaum, Pagadian, Mindanao, Philippines.