For the second time in a month, the Diocese of Clogher has suffered the death of a much-respected priest. Fr Thomas (Tom) Finnegan, the Parish Priest of Magheracloone, County Monaghan, died today at St Francis’ Hospice, Blanchardstown, Dublin, following an illness which he bore with great courage and serenity.
Fr Finnegan was a native of the parish of Killanny, on the Monaghan-Louth border, where was born on 6 May 1942. He attended Ballymackney National School and afterwards pursued his education at St Macartan’s College, Monaghan (1957-62) and then at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth (1962-68). He was ordained to the priesthood on 19 June 1968. His first appointment was a Curate in Garrison, Co Fermanagh, where he served for five years. In 1973 he was transferred to Broomfield in the Parish of Donaghmoyne, County Monaghan. Five years later, in 1978, he was appointed Rector of St Patrick’s Agricultural College in Monaghan, a position he held for twenty-one years. In 1999 he was appointed Parish Priest of the south-Monaghan parish of Magheracloone and over the following eighteen years he ministered generously to the people there. Fr Finnegan was a brother of Canon John Finnegan, retired Parish Priest of Cleenish, County Fermanagh.
In a tribute to Fr Finnegan, the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Clogher, Mgr Joseph McGuinness, said:
The priests and people of the diocese are saddened to learn of the death of Fr Tom Finnegan. While we were aware of his illness for some time, his sudden death has come as a shock to us. Despite his poor health, he continued to lead parish liturgies and provide pastoral care insofar as he could. Only earlier this month he attended the funeral in his native Killanny of the late Fr Joe McCluskey. Fr Tom came from a farming family and had a profound interest in agriculture and country life. His period as Rector of St Patrick’s Agricultural College was one of improvement amidst challenges and changes. He showed the same faithful dedication in his priestly ministry and his eighteen years of service to the people of Magheracloone offer a glowing witness to that. We extend our sincere sympathy to Fr Tom’s family and friends.
May Christ, the eternal priest, whom Fr Tom served faithfully in this life, bring him now to the fullness of life in the kingdom of heaven and may the Lord support and console us all at this time.
Funeral Arrangements are as follows:
Arriving at St Patrick’s Church, Upper Magheracloone (Rock Chapel) on Sunday 31 December 2017 at 4pm for Prayers of Reception. Reposing from 4pm until 8pm. Reposing again at St Patrick’s Church on Monday 1 January 2018 from 12 noon until 3pm.
Arriving at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Lower Magheracloone (Drumgossat) on Monday 1 January 2018 at 4pm for Prayers of Reception. Reposing from 4pm until 8pm.
Funeral Mass on Tuesday 2 January 2018 at 12 Noon in Saints Peter and Paul Church, Lower Magheracloone, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.
Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him O Lord!
Notes for Editors:
1. The Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, most of Fermanagh and portions of Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. It has a Catholic population of 88,000, across 37 parishes, which are served by 63 priests and 1 deacon. There are 85 churches in the diocese. Monsignor Joseph McGuinness is the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Clogher, pending the appointment of a new bishop by Pope Francis. Mgr McGuinness is also the Administrator of the Parish of Tyholland, Co Monaghan.
2. The Parish of Magheracloone is located in south-Monaghan, adjacent to the borders of counties Cavan, Meath and Louth. Per the 2015 Diocesan Census, the parish has 498 families and a Catholic population of 1,574. There are two churches in the parish. St Patrick’s at Upper Magheracloone (known locally as ‘The Rock Chapel’) dates from the 1850s. The Church of Saints Peter and Paul, at Lower Magheracloone (Drumgossat) dates from the 1820s. There are three Catholic schools in the parish, namely, Ballynagearn, Drumgossat and Mullaghrafferty
Photo copyright: (c) Pat Byrne Photography, Carrickmacross