03 November 2014

Columban Fr Sean Holloway RIP

Fr Seán Holloway
25 August 1921 - 29 October 2014

Fr Seán Holloway was born in Horseleap, County Offaly, Ireland, on 25 August 1921. He was educated at Horseleap National School, Tubber National School and St Finian’s College, Mullingar. He came to St Columbans, Dalgan Park, Navan, Ireland - known to Columbans simply as 'Dalgan' - in 1941 and was ordained priest there on 21 December 1947.

Horse Sculpture in Horseleap [Wikipedia]

Assigned to the Philippines, he spent the first two years in Mindanaothe southern island, before being assigned to Negros Occidental where he would spend the next 18 years in the parishes of Isabela and Himamaylan. Seán was among the first Columban group to be assigned to this new District. It covered a huge area, had been served by a bare handful of priests, and few of its old churches were standing.

Camangcamang, Isabela [Wikipedia]

Building up the existing parishes and developing new ones was a herculean task. Sean had the gift for bringing the best out of laypeople. Working with the help of innumerable praesidia (branches) of the Legion of Mary, he wore himself out over the following two decades.

Altar used at Legion of Mary meetings [Wikipedia]

Assigned to the Region of Ireland in 1970, he spent three years on Vocations Ministry, followed by five years as Farm Manager and Bursar of Dowdstown House. Availing of the expertise of competent lay friends, he established the beginnings of the present cattle herd.
He was also responsible for developing and sustaining Dalganmuch-admired network of forest walks. [You can see some of these walks in the video below, with links to two other videos in the series.]

There followed a twelve-year period as Assistant and later Parish Priest of St Joseph’s, Balcurris, Ballymun, Dublin. As in the Philippines, his charm, and reliance on the laity won him many friends. He established a school for the Travellers (a nomadic ethnic group in Ireland also called 'Pavee') and helped integrate them into the parish. 

Father Seán is remembered in Balcurris with great affection. On returning to Dalgan in 1991 he served in other management roles until his health began to deteriorate. A man of great charity and generosity, there was a childlike transparency in him, and a great capacity for making friends, helping develop their gifts, and seeing creative possibilities in every situation.

Father Seán  wrote in his will:  I wish to thank everybody for their personal kindness to me over the many years that the Good Lord has given to me.

May he rest in peace.

St Columban's Cemetery, Dalgan Park [Photo: Fr Rolly Aniscal]

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