Father John Curry ssc R.I.P.. Philippines and Dalgan Park

Recent deaths 03-01-09

Fr. John Curry 1927-2008

Dalgan Park

The funeral took place in Dalgan Park yesterday (Tuesday) of Fr John Curry, a Columban Father who served as curate in Skryne and Rathfeigh parish up until his retirement three years ago.

Fr Curry passed away on St Stephen”s Day in Our Lady”s Hospital, Navan, after a long illness. He was 81 and had spent all of his missionary career in the Philippines.

Deceased was born in Lecarrow, Knock, Co Mayo and attended Knock National School and St Jarleth”s College, Tuam before joining the Columban Fathers in Dalgan Park in 1944. He was ordained in 1950 and subsequently assigned to missionary work in the Philippine Islands. In this role he was one of the first group of Columbans to open a mission in Zambales province.

Fr Curry worked initially in San Feluipe, then in Castillejos before becoming Pastor of Cabangan in 1961. He took on the role of Columban Director in the Pro-Region of Zambales for six years from 1969.

He then continued his work in the parishes of Santa Cruz, San Narciso, Olongapo and Iba until his health problems surfaced in 1988. The priest was one of those Columbans who can be credited with the creation of a Catholic School System in the province despite strong opposition from the Manila authorities.

Recuperating from heart surgery he returned to Ireland in 1990 and was able to take on pastoral work again. He worked in Barnacarrol Co Mayo, in Navan parish and in Skryne parish.

Fr Curry”s youthful appearance and ready smile reflected his great interest and care for people.

He enjoyed being of help to people and this commitment and dedication will be remembered by many who benefited from his kindness and concern.

During his period in Skryne and Rathfeigh, parishioners helped him mark the golden jubilee of his ordination with a celebration.

He was succeeded as curate in Skryne by Fr Thomas O”Mahony, the current parish priest there.

He is survived by his sisters, Julia, Josie and Ita, brothers Tom and Eddie, sisters-in-law; brother-in-law, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, relatives and many friends and Columban confreres.

The concelebrated requiem Mass at St Columban”s, Dalgan Park, was followed by burial in the community cemetery.

Father John was exceptionally kind to his cousin Willie and I. For example, we had a very sad occasion to stay at his parish bungalow in Skryne, Nr. Navan. It was during a devastating time – a decade ago – when they lost three of their first cousins in a tragic fire at Cloondace, Knock. He looked after us so well. He did all the cooking and made such a fuss of us. I bled for the two of them. No words could describe the pain they felt. I could see it in their demeanour. I saw how every little job in the house became their focus, as they were too stunned and shocked to even think beyond their own physical movements.

Father John truly shone in his handling of the whole funeral scenario. He was a tower of strength to his younger cousin and later to the wider community who mourned the sad loss of the family.

They drove up to Knock with other members of the Columbans. I went up to see Rose, the  only surviving member with Sr. Grainne from Kells. Sr. Grainne was so taken with Rose and her concern for me – she was worried that I’d not had enough to eat and was sharing her hospital dinner with me. She reminded me of mama who always made a fuss that way. They would starve quicker than see you go hungry. Rose was once a matron at Merlin Park hospital – so her caring skills never left her.

Father John and Rose and Uncle Willie will never be forgotten by me.

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