27 October 2015

Columban Fr Oliver C. Kennedy RIP

Fr Oliver Canice Kennedy
(1922 - 2015)

Fr Oliver Kennedy was born in Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland, on 3 November 1922, the year the Irish Free State, now the Republic of Ireland, separated from the United Kingdom as an independent state. He was educated at St Brendans National School, Loughrea, and St Josephʼs College, Ballinasloe, County Galway. In 1941, he was a member of the first class to be admitted to the new Dalgan Park at St Columbanʼs, Navan, County Meath. He was ordained priest on 21 December 1947.

St Brendan's Cathedral, Loughrea, Diocese of Clonfert [Wikipedia]

His first appointment, in 1948, was to Burma, but because of the difficulties in obtaining a visa he was subsequently appointed to Korea. He was to spend the next twenty years there, working in the
Kwangju area as pastor of Koksung and later of Posong, before becoming director of Catholic Relief Services in Kwangju.

Flag of South Korea [Wikipedia]

In 1989 he was appointed to the General Mission Office in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. He spent almost twenty years there in various roles. Affable and hard-working, he enjoyed good relationships with all the office staff.

Montego Bay. Jamaica [Wikipedia]

The Columbans worked for some years in the Diocese of Montego Bay.

Then, in 1986 he was appointed as a member of the pioneer Columban team to Jamaica. Jamaica was characterised by high levels of violence, and by a lack of family life values, due in large part
to the suffering in slavery of so many of the early inhabitants. After seven years working there, Father Oliverʼs health demanded that he be reassigned to the USA. There he worked once again, for as long as he was able, in the Omaha Mission Office.

St Columban's, Dalgan Park

Father Oliver was in the first group of Irish Columban seminarians to start their studies in this, the 'New Dalgan', when it was opened in 1941. The 'Old Dalgan' in Shrule ahd served as our seminary in Ireland from 1918 until 1941. He studied here for seven years and spent the last two years of his life in the nursing home here.

He was admitted to the Dalgan Nursing Home in June 2013. His last two years were difficult, but he was treated with immense kindness and patience by all the members of the Nursing Home staff. May he rest in peace.

St Columban's Cemetery, Dalgan Park

Father Oliver's brother Joseph, also a Columban priest, is buried here too. He was ordained in 1942 and worked on mission in China, Japan, Britain and Peru. He died on 18 February 1997. The light of heaven on both of them. 

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