(1925 - 2015)
Fr Patrick (Paddy) Meehan was born on 24 August 1925 in Innishammon, Smithboro, County Monaghan, Ireland. His father died when he was only four years of age, a baby sister died in 1931 and his mother died when he was seven. Now the youngest of three surviving children, Paddy was reared by an uncle and aunt who moved into their home and small farm.
Smithboro, County Monaghan
A scholarship got him a place in St Macartan’s College and in 1943 he was one of the seven in a class of thirteen who choose to study for the priesthood.
He entered St Columban's College, Dalgan Park, Ireland, in 1943 and was ordained priest on 21 December 1949. He was appointed to post-graduate studies in theology at Dunboyne House, a house of higher studies at St Patrick's, Maynooth, the national seminary, in 1950-’51 and then to the seminary staff at St Columban’s, Nebraska, and later to Milton, MA, USA until 1964.
He was appointed to the Philippines in 1964. After language studies in Ozamis, he served as Pastor in Clarin, then assistant in Pagadian, and later Pastor of Dumingag. In 1972 he served in Lanipao and Maranding in the Diocese of Iligan and then as Chancellor of the Diocese of Pagadian from 1974 to 1981 and spent a three-year period in San Miguel.
Lala, Lanao del Norte [Wikipedia]
[Lanipao is in the Municipality of Lala]
This was followed by an appoinment to promotion work in the US Region, from the Columban house in Bayside, Queens, NYC, from 1981 to 1986. Returning to the Philippines he served briefly in Marihatag, Diocese of Tandag, and then in Linamon, Corpus Christi Parish and St Michael’s Parish, Iligan City, all in the Diocese of Iligan.
St Michael's Cathedral, Iligan City [Wikipedia]
From 1992 to 1998 he was once again on promotion work in the USA, from the Omaha and New York houses.
In 1998, he ‘retired’ to Ireland but was very happy to serve in pastoral work, in his home Diocese of Clogher as long as his health permitted. He was admitted to the Dalgan Nursing Home in April 2008.
Father Paddy was a kind, pleasant, humble man, who never flaunted his considerable learning, but was a steady, good-humoured presence in many difficult areas of Mindanao. He once concluded a note on his life quoting the psalm: 'The mercies of the Lord I will sing for ever.' And added: 'Given the chance, I probably wouldn’t do it differently, only better.'
Father Paddy died peacefully in the Nursing Home in St Columban's, Dalgan Park, on Thursday, 18 June, 2015. May God reward his caring and generous spirit.
Father Paddy lost his father when he was only four and his mother three years later. One of Monaghan's most famous sons was the poet and novelist Patrick Kavanagh (1904 - 1967) who wrote the poem below.
In Memory Of My Mother
I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily
Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday -
You meet me and you say:
'Don't forget to see about the cattle - '
Among your earthiest words the angels stray.
And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life -
And I see us meeting at the end of a town
On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.
O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is a harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us - eternally.
May Father Paddy, his father and mother, his deceased Columban confreres and all his loved ones 'smile up at us - eternally.'