18 July 2016

Columban Fr Edward Quinn RIP

Fr Edward Quinn
(25 June 1928 - 12 July 2016)

After a brief illness, Fr Edward Quinn ('55) died peacefully at the Bellevue Medical Center in Nebraska on the evening of 12 July.

Fr Ed Quinn was born on 25 June 25 in Minneapolis, MN, USA.  His parents were Edward I. Quinn and Mary Frances Graham.

In his early elementary school years he attended public schools in Iowa. From the sixth through eighth grades he studied at Our Lady of Lourdes School, Omaha, NE, 1939-42. His high school years were spent at Creighton Prep 1942-46, Omaha, NE. For college he studied at Creighton University, Omaha, NE, 1946-50 where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He was a gifted athlete who played on the basketball and track teams at Creighton Prep and Creighton University.

St John's Church, Creighton University [Wikipedia]

He studied for the priesthood at the Columban seminaries at St Columbans, NE, Bristol, RI, and at Milton, MA. Father Ed was ordained to the priesthood on 17 December 1955 in the Milton seminary chapel.

Fr Quinn in Korea, c. 1960
'This article, circa 1960, is about my uncle caring for those in leper colonies in South Korea. He lived in Korea until 1972. He then worked in Fiji until he returned to Omaha about a decade ago. He did much good for humanity in his 88 years.' [From Facebook of Fr Quinn's nephew, also Edward Quinn.]

He served in Korea from 1956 to 1968 doing parish work.

Later in 1968 Father Ed was assigned to the USA for vocation work in Chicago. While there he started the Korean Catholic Center.

Fr Quinn in Fiji

In 1973 he was assigned to Fiji where he did parish work for ten years. While he mainly served in Fijian-speaking parishes, Father Ed also spoke Hindi which he used in Indian-Fijian parishes. While Regional Director in Fiji 1983-87 he periodically visited and spent several months in Vanuatu, where the Columban Region of Fiji had a mission at that time. From 1987 onwards he  served variously in formation, vocations, hospital chaplaincy and parish work before starting the Lay Missionary program in Fiji. 

Father Ed with Korean Columban Lay Missionaries Yean Sin, Bok Ja and Yean Han in Fiji, 1994
Yean Sin died of hepatitis in Fiji on 4 November 1994.

In addition, he was Regional Bursar from 1987 to 1991 and House Bursar/Manager from 1990 to 2007. He was periodically elected as a Regional Councilor throughout his years in Fiji.

From 2007 to the present, he was assigned to St Columbans, Omaha, NE. While he was still able to drive, he chose to be a chauffeur for many Columbans on trips to and from the local airport. He had a low key, unassuming way about him with a wry sense of humor. He is sorely missed.

Crucifix, St Columbans, Nebraska

Obituary by Fr Tim Mulroy, Columban Regional Director, USA.

Christ JyotiAshram - Christ the Light Ashram
Near Nadi, in western Viti Levu

The only time I met Fr Ed Quinn was two or three weeks after Easter 1990 when I paid my only visit to Fiji. The late Fr Martin Dobey met me at Nadi International Airport and took me to the Ashram above where the Columbans were on retreat. They greeted me with the traditional yaqona (kava) ceremony. I spent two nights there, as far as I can recall, and then travelled with Father Ed in his vehicle to Suva, a journey of about two hours. Fr Mulroy's description of him above: He had a low key, unassuming way about him with wry sense of humor, is how I remember him. As a fellow Columban missionary priest I was inspired by his quiet, joyful presence. 

Coral reef below the Ashram

An abiding memory I have of my stay in the Ashram is the sound of the waves breaking on the coral reef in the photo above, a sound that brought a sense of peace.

May Father Ed rest in the eternal life-filled peace that Jesus has promised to those who follow him and do the will of the Father.

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