15 January 2015

Columban Fr Daniel Baragry RIP

Fr Daniel M. Baragry
11 May 1930 - 9 January 2015

Fr Daniel ('Dan') Baragry was born on 11 May 1930 in Tipperary Town, County Tipperary, Ireland. Educated at Christian Brothers School, Tipperary, and The Abbey School, Tipperary, he came to St Columban's, Dalgan Park, Navan, in September 1948 and was ordained priest on 21 December 1954.

Main Street, Tipperary Town [Wikipedia]

Father Dan was assigned to the Philippines and spent the next 45 years happily working in that country. The first 35 years were all spent in parishes in the southern island of Mindanao. He served in Pagadian City (Zamboanga del Sur), Mahinog (Camiguin Island), Malabang (Lanao del Sur), Tangub City (Misamis Occidental), Bacolod (Lanao del Norte), Anakan (Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental), Alubijid (Misamis Oriental), Marihatag (Surigao del Sur) and Linamon  (Lanao del Norte).

Pagadian City, on Illana Bay [Wikipedia]

A man of prodigious energy, he served for example in Anakan, a very rough, rugged, mountainous parish, which had a logging camp and a total of eighty-three small scattered communities. Dan was out almost every day on his motor-bike, visiting one or other community. On his return to the parish house, after a short rest, he had the energy to play tennis, and after a shower and supper, there was always the designated prayer time. A former superior said of him 'Dan always wanted the hard assignments;  he worked hard, played hard and prayed hard'. When the new area of Tandag was taken on, Dan was one of the first to volunteer, even though his assignment was an eight-hour drive from the Columban Central House in Cagayan de Oro.

San Agustin Cathedral, Cagayan de Oro City [Wikipedia, Shubert Ciencia]

In the early 1990s, Father Dan took some units of Clinical Pastoral Education. Later, residing in the formation house in Cebu City,  he undertook a new apostolate with patients, and their families of the psychiatric wing of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, a government hospital.  In this apostolate he served those most neglected by society. By the year 2000 his own health required care and he spent a year in Manila before returning home to Ireland in April 2001. As long as he was active he did some book-keeping work in the farm office before being confined to the Dalgan Nursing Home where he died on 9 January after participating in the morning Eucharist. Father Dan was a quiet, dedicated, loyal Columban with a gentle sense of humour. 

May he rest in peace.

Slievenamon is the unofficial anthem of Tipperary people and is sung here by the late Frank Patterson, from Clonmel, County Tipperary.

Slievenamon, County Tipperary [Photo:Wikimedia Commons user Trounce]

Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar of Tandag, which covers the province of Surigao del Sur, wrote in an email to Fr Pat Raleigh, Columban Regional Director in Ireland: Kindly convey to the Columban Fathers and to Fr Dan's family condolence and prayers from the Diocese of Tandag. Thanks for giving us a great missionary who was an inspiration for our younger priests.

Fr Raleigh noted that on the night that Dan died the nurse on duty, Ruby, and one of the carers, Susanne, were from the Philippines. How appropriate. 

Elma Guia O'Connell, a Filipina who served as a Columban lay missionary in Taiwan and is now married in Ireland, emailed me, We are on the way back to Dungarvan from Navan where we attended the funeral of Fr Dan Baragry yesterday in Dalgan. I don't know much about Fr Dan but once you know one Columban who dedicated his life to the Filipino people, it feels like you know them all.

Father Dan and I spent some years together on the formation team in Cebu City. He experienced real joy in spending every morning from Monday to Friday with the patients in the psychiatric wing of the hospital where he worked. He had great patience and remarkable kindness, a kindness that his late brother, Fr Frank Baragry who died in 1997, also had. Father Frank spent 40 years in Mindanao as a Columban missionary. Their nephew, Fr Dan Baragray CSsR, the newly-elected Provincial of the Dublin Province of the Redemptorists, also worked in the Philippines, first as a student and later as a priest. Long-distance phone-calls between the two Dan Baragrys used to cause some confusion when they had to be done through an operator!

Something I will always remember about Father Dan is his very firm and welcoming handshake.

Basílica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebú [Wikipedia]

No comments: