A Time in History (September 17-23)

September 17

FR. BERNARD O’CONNOR was born on 18 April 1934 in Ballymore, Co Sligo. He was educated in Ballymote Boys NS and St Joseph’s College, Ballinasloe before joining the Columbans in Navan in 1952. After ordination in Dalgan Park on 21 December 1958,  he was appointed to the Philippines. After language studies in Tagalog, he began his many years of work in the Archdiocese of Manila. His first years were spent in Silang, Cavite and Binangonan, Rizal but from 1969 he was engaged in Student Catholic Action. This was a dynamic ministry founded by the Columbans in 1936. He served, mainly in Far Eastern University during the turbulent years of Martial Law when all student organisations were suspect and many banned. Having served as superior in the district of Luzon, he returned in 1988 to parish ministry in Malate until he was appointed to Britain in 1995. Mission Awareness and House Manager were two of the roles he had held during his thirteen years in Solihull and, as he put it, up to the last he was still seeking news veins on the coalface of British mission.  During all these years, he suffered from poor health and he returned to Ireland to begin dialysis treatment in 2009. Eventually he needed treatment three days every week but always tried to bounce back as quickly as possible. As one of the first Columbans to develop computer skills along with his cryptic crosswords and stamp collection he always had ways of coping with the long hours of treatment and recovery. He will be remembered for his droll humour, for his hope and indomitable courage, a witness to all of us on how to cope with life’s difficulties. He died suddenly on 17 September 2017. May God reward this generous and faithful missionary and priest.


September 18

FR. BERNARD HEGARTY was born at Glencolumbcille, County Donegal, Ireland in 1925. He died at the Richmond Hospital, Dublin on September 18, 1983. Father Brian, as he was called, entered Dalgan Seminary in 1944 after doing his secondary studies at St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny, Ireland. After his ordination in 1950, he was assigned to the Philippines where he worked in Pangasinan and Negros. In 1968, he was appointed to the District of Britain where he served as bursar for the District. In 1975, he retired to Dalgan due to failing health and is buried at Dalgan Park.



FR. JOHN MEANEY was born at Newport, County Mayo, Ireland in 1920. He died at St. Columban’s, Singalong, Manila on September 18, 2006. Having completed his secondary education at Westport Christian Brothers’ School in 1940, Father John came to Dalgan Seminary and was ordained there in 1946. The Philippines was to be his only mission appointment, where he served for approximately fifty-eight years. Wherever he ministered, “John will be remembered as a kind, gentle, non-judgmental man who lived a life of simplicity and poverty. His understanding of and care for the poor will be long remembered…., one who understood their plight and gave of his best to alleviate their situation.” Father John is buried at the Columban Plot, Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City.


Grave of Fr. John Meaney


September 19

FR. PATRICK J. REIDY was born in 1931 at Knightstown, Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland, our only Columban representative from there. He died on September 19, 1998 at Dalgan Park. When Father Paddy, as he was commonly called, had completed his studies at St. Brendan’s College, Killarney, he entered Dalgan Seminary in 1949 and was ordained priest there on December 21, 1955.  Assigned to the Philippines, he spent his whole missionary life in Mindanao where he will be remembered for his kindness and selfless service to his people and Columban colleagues. He was Pro-Director there for two terms. Some few months before his death he had returned to Ireland for medical attention.  Father Paddy is buried at Dalgan Park.



Fr. Patrick Reidy


September 20

FR. DESMOND QUINN was born at Quignashee, Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland on December 14, 1931. Ordained on December 21, 1954, he studied agriculture in Louisiana before going to Negros where he served in Cawayan, La Castellana and Binalbagan until November 1956. Then he was assigned to Britain for ten years doing promotion work, including a term as rector of the Columban House in Hampstead. He was even invited to do mission appeals in US bases in Germany. Back in Negros in October 1973, Father Des worked in Isabela, Himamaylan and Binalbagan before Vocations Ministry in the US in 1979. Returning to the Philippines, he became pastor of Hinoba-an from 1981-1987 and District Superior of Negros from 1987 to 1991. Mission Awareness and Promotion in Manila was next and two terms as Vice-Director of the Philippine Region beginning in 1993. He was Regional Bursar in Ireland from 2000 to 2008, combining efficiency with obliging courtesy. Father Des suffered a couple of small strokes yet the suddenness of his final illness took all by surprise. He died in Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan on September 20, 2015 and is buried in Dalgan Park.


Fr. Des Quinn in Manila with his classmate, Fr. Michael Sinnott, on November 12, 2009


September 21

FR. RAYMOND McNICHOLAS was born in 1924 at St. Gabriel’s Parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago. He died at the Mercy Nursing Facility in Lackawanna, New York on September 21, 2009. After his time in grade school he went to Quigley Prep. Seminary, then joined the Columbans in 1939 and studied at Silver Creek in preparation for priesthood.  Father Ray was ordained at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral, Omaha in December 1949 and appointed to the Philippines. He was given chaplaincy work in Manila and then appointed priest-in-charge of Malate until his return to the U.S. in 1957. There he worked in Mission Education for a year and was then appointed Spiritual Director in Silver Creek and later in Derby until 1971, when he was appointed Superior in Derby. Father Ray was assigned to Westminster parish in 1976, and later went to the Virgin Islands in 1978. Returning to the U.S., he assumed the role of Superior in Bristol in 1980 and in 1994 he was appointed to St. Bernadette’s parish, Buffalo. He retired to Silver Creek in 2008 where his burial took place on September 25, 2009.


September 22

FR. KIERAN HENEGHAN was born on 9 September 1924 in Knock, Claremorris, Co Mayo. He was educated at Knock NS, Casla NS and St Jarlath’s College, Tuam. He came to Dalgan in 1942 and was ordained priest on 21 December 1948.  He was appointed to the Philippines where he would serve during the following 29 years. After a brief period in Malate and Morong, he was among the first to be assigned to Zambales. He served in four main parishes, San Antonio (1958-1964), Castillejos (1964–1974), Santa Cruz (1974–1978) and St Joseph’s, Olongapo City (1974-1978).  In the post-war years all these parishes needed churches repaired and rebuilt. They also needed a whole system of schools and trained catechists to offset the effects of the strong Aglipayan presence. He was instrumental in introducing the Filipina Benedictine Sisters who were a huge help in organising parishes. He was responsible for introducing and funding a very effective tuberculosis eradication programme, and campaigned until the Government eventually funded the necessary medicine. In 1979  he was appointed to Ireland where he was involved in mission promotion and as a chaplain in Bolton Street Technical College. Then from 1984 to 1996 he acted as chaplain to Filipino communities in London and around Britain.  In 1996 he returned to his native Knock, where he was always willing to help in the local parishes.  In failing health he returned to the Dalgan Retirement Home at the end of 2013.  Father Kieran will be remembered as a kind, generous, gentle, non-judgmental priest. He died in the Retirement Home on 22 September 2019 and was buried in Knock, Co Mayo on 25 September 2019.