23 January 2018

Columban Fr Matthew Reilly RIP

Fr Matthew Reilly
5 April 1934 - 17 January 2018

Fr Matthew ('Mattie') Reilly was born in Bellair, Moynalty, County Meath, Ireland, on 5 April 1934. Educated at Moynalty National School and St Finian's College, Mullingar, he entered St Columban's, Dalgan Park, in September 1952 and was ordained priest there on 21 December 1958. He was a younger brother of the late Columban Fr Patrick Reilly who died in 1998.

Moynalty [Wikipedia]

Father Mattie's first appointment, in 1959, was to Korea where he was to spend twelve years. After language studies he worked in the Kwangju area, spent some time as secretary to the Papal Nuncio, completed a course in catechetics atthe East Asian Pastoral Institute, Quezon City, Philippines, and served as pastor of Youngsanpo, Gwangju, before doing pastoral work in Seoul.

Gwangju at sunset [Wikipedia]

From 1972 to 1978 Father Mattie did pastoral work in the Diocese of Meath, serving as chaplain to Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, and as spiritual director to various praesidia of the Legion of Mary and to the Society of St Vincent de Paul. 

St Bede's, Widnes [Wikipedia]

From 1978 to 1984 he served at St Bede's, Widnes, then a Columban parish, in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, England, where he is still fondly remembered.

Old chapel, St Columban's, Solihull

After a brief period in office work at the Columban house, Solihull, near Birmingham, he was involved as pastor and counsellor to alcohol and drug addicts in Clouds House, East Knoyle, Wiltshire, now part of Action on Addiction. He returned to Solihull in 1986 and served there as office manager until 1992. During that time he was responsible for extending the offices.

Father Mattie returned to Ireland in 1992 and did pastoral work in the Diocese of Meath along with being a part-time chaplain in the Mater Hospital in Dublin. From 1995 to 2003 he was chaplain to St Francis Private Hospital, Mullingar. Because of his own many illnesses he got great fulfillment from chaplaincy work and the care of the sick. As his health deteriorated he could do less work but he loved to help in parishes in the Diocese of Meath whenever he could.

Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies, Van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

During his years in St Columban's Nursing Home, Dalgan Park, Father Mattie developed the cultivation of flowers as a hobby.He created magnificent seasonal displays of flowers in the corridors, chapels and out of doors especially for Cemetery Sunday, Jubilee Days, Easter and Christmas.

Fr Cyril Lovett

This hymn was sung after Communion during Father Mattie's funeral Mass, at his request. The words are based on a Latin antiphon sung at Requiem Masses as the body is being taken out of the church: 

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; 
in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, 
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem. 
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, 
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem..

Solas na bhFlaitheas ar a anam dílis
The Light of Heaven on his faithful soul.

According to family members, the song The Old Bog Road was a favourite of Father Mattie and he would sing it on occasion.

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