A Time in History (November 8-16)

November 8

FR. PAUL RICHARDSON was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts, USA on March 5, 1929. He attended public schools before entering the seminary at Silver Creek in 1945. He continued his studies in Bristol, Omaha and Milton and was ordained by Archbishop Richard Cushing in the new Milton Seminary Chapel on December 18, 1954. Assigned to the Philippines in 1955, he spent nearly 50 years ministering in various parishes in Negros, especially Binalbagan, Kabankalan, Himamaylan and Sipalay. In Kabankalan, he acted as chaplain and teacher in the local college. His concern for the poor inspired Father Paul to start cooperatives, pig dispersal and fishing projects in several of his assignments, and to be included in an army hit list in the Marcos era. 1963 saw him in Manila as Assistant Regional Bursar. In 1986, he became socius for the Columban students in Cebu. When ill health precluded a parish assignment, Father Paul lived at the Columban central house in Negros working with poor fishermen, starting a Grameen Bank and a pig cooperative. He was a familiar sight walking on the beach early in the morning taking pictures, talking with the neighbours, and having his coffee at one of the local sari-sari stores. Father Paul frequently published these encounters with stories in the Columban Mission magazine. The photos he supplied to illustrate his stories often won prizes and decorated the walls of the Bristol retirement home where he moved in 2002. Father Paul will be remembered as a talented man who, through his quiet and gentle way, touched the lives of many. He died on November 8, 2013. His funeral took place at the Bristol retirement home and the interment was in the cemetery attached to St Mary’s Church, Bristol, Rhode Island, USA.


November 12

mcennisFR. FRANCIS McENNIS was born in 1916 at Kilconly, Tuam, County Galway, Ireland. He died on November 12, 1997 in a Manila hospital. Frank entered the seminary in Dalgan, Ireland in 1935 and was ordained priest there on December 21, 1941. Due to wartime travel restrictions he volunteered as a chaplain to the Royal Air Force and was the first Catholic chaplain to land in France with the British Forces on D-Day. In 1947 he was assigned to China but, having completed his Chinese studies, he was appointed to the Philippines where he worked mostly in Mindanao area. He received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in 1951. He is buried at the Columban plot at Cagayan de Oro City.




Fr. Francis McEnnis

FR. TERENCE (Terry) BENNETT was born in Omagh on 15 December 1926. Educated by the Loreto Sisters and Christian Brothers, he came to Dalgan in 1944 where he was ordained on 21 December 1950. Assigned to the Philippines, he served in Negros Occidental for 17 years before joining Student Catholic Action in Manila. Vocation and promotion work in Britain followed. In 1975 he returned to Negros as parish priest in Sipalay and Tabugon, an assignment that demanded courage and wisdom. For two years he searched for vocations in the central Philippines. His final parish was Holy Family, Bacolod City. He had nine years in charge of hospitality in the central house in Batang. Even when he retired to Dalgan in 2008 he was an active spiritual director for local praesedia of the Legion of Mary and an affable member of the Dalgan community. He died peacefully on 12 November 2020 at St Columban’s Retirement Home, Dalgan.


November 13

FR. PATRICK JOSEPH O’HERLIHY was born in Berrings, County Cork, Ireland on August 5, 1933 and was ordained on December 21, 1958. He sailed to the Philippines the following year where he spent twelve years in the parishes of Masinloc, Candelaria, Sta. Cruz and Coto Mines in Zambales. Father Pat showed his versatility during two years on promotion in Ireland and six as Director of Irish Chaplains in Britain. In 1980, he was reassigned to the Philippines in the parishes of Novaliches and Morong. Then from 1992-1996, he worked in Tondo, Manila among the poorest, the workers on the enormous rubbish tip known as “Smokey Mountain”. In 1997, he returned to promotion work in Ireland and in 2001, he asked to be assigned to the Dioceses of Cork and Cloyne. From his base beside the Church of Our Lady Crowned, in Mayfield, Cork City, he organized regular concerts and other events in aid of Columbans. He was a gracious host who loved to welcome visitors. Father Pat had to cope with depression especially in his final years. Visits from family and friends brought comfort as his health deteriorated. He died in St. Columban’s Nursing Home early on November 13, 2018.


November 14

toalFR. BERNARD E. TOAL was born on October 17, 1915 in Gloucester, New Jersey, USA. He studied in Silver Creek, Bristol and Omaha and was ordained on December 18, 1943 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Buffalo, New York, USA. Because of World War II he could not go abroad immediately but did parish work in California and Arizona. In 1945 he went to the Philippines and was assigned in Ozamiz where he taught in the parish high school. After vacation in 1951 he was appointed Spiritual Director and Bursar of the seminary in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA. From 1957 until 1968 he was Director of Probationers. Eleven years in Peru followed in the parish of “The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary” in Reynoso, Callao where he built a church, rectory and a thriving parish community. Returning to the US in 1979 he served in Blessed Sacrament Parish, Westminster, California, Immaculate Conception parish in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Immaculate Conception parish in Grand Prairie, Texas and St. Mary’s Parish in Fontana, California. In the fall of 2011 he moved to the Columban House in Bristol, Rhode Island. For the last few years he was cared for at St. Elizabeth Manor in Bristol where he remained cheerful and did not complain. Thanks to his gentle spirit and genuine interest in all those who crossed his path he touched the lives of a great number of people and maintained personal contact with many of them for decades until the end of his life. He died aged 101 in St. Elizabeth’s Manor on November 14, 2016 and is buried in the cemetery of St. Mary’s, Bristol.






Fr Toal in Ozamiz City (1947-51)



toal seated

Fr Toal, seated, with Columban seminarians, Bristol, Rhode Island, USA, 1962-63



Fr Toal with friends in Lima, Peru (1968-79)


November 15

gradyFR. JAMES O’GRADY was born in Woonsocket, in the diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, in 1912. He died in Denver on November 15, 1970. He studied at Woonsocket High School and Providence College, RI, before he began his studies for priesthood in 1939.  He was ordained priest in December 1945 and assigned to the Philippines. In 1948 he was assigned to the staff at St. Columban’s, St. Paul, Minnesota. Later he lived at St. Columbans, Nebraska. He worked in a parish in Denver until his death. Fr. Jim is buried at Wheat Ridge, Colorado.