06 October 2015

Columban Fr Joseph Shiels RIP

Fr Joseph Matthew Shiels
(1930 - 2015)

Fr Joseph M. Shiels died in the Nursing Home at St Columban's, Dalgan Park, Navan, Ireland, on Sunday 4 October 2015.

Born in Paisley, Scotland, on 3 March 1930, he was educated at St Charles Parochial School, Paisley, Waterside Boys PES, Derry, and St Columb’s College, Derry. He came to St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, in 1947 and was ordained priest on 21 December 1953.

St Mirin Catholic Cathedral, Paisley [Wikipedia]

He was appointed to the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines. After language studies, he served in Ozamis, Clarin (both in Misamis Occidental), Lanipao (Lanao del Norte) and later in Tangub (Misamis Occidental). After his first vacation he served from 1962 to 1970 in Lopez-Jaena (Misamis Occidental) where he helped the poor local farmers to increase their income considerably by planting the Lakatan variety of bananas in the spaces between their coconut trees. 

From 1972 to 1976 he served in the parishes of Aloran, and Jimenez (both in Misamis Occidental).

St John the Baptist Church, Jimenez [Wikipedia]

In 1977 he undertook studies in Pastoral Counselling in Chicago. On his return to the Philippines in the 1980s, he served in Pagadian City, and then in Marawi City, followed by Lianga (Surigao del Sur), Linamon, Suarez and Buru-un (all in Lanao del Norte), in the Diocese of Iligan, until 2003. On returning to Ireland he lived in Derry and served as acting-Parish Priest in the Parish of Desertmartin. 

Desertmartin, County Derry [Wikipedia]

While in Derry, Father Joe researched and published his book Christian Transition, (Gracewing, Herefordshire 2007). He was always an independent thinker who liked to interpret events, and enjoyed a good discussion. He found pastoral work fulfilling and was happy to help out in Derry as long as his health permitted. 

 May he rest in peace.

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