Fr. Bernard (Benny) Fitzpatrick, a former local priest and African missionary who served as curate in Killasnett Parish 1983 to 1988, passed on to his eternal reward on Friday, April 30 in Cavan.
A late vocation, Fr. Benny was appointed curate in Killasnett Parish following his ordination by Bishop Francis J. McKiernan in the Cathedral of St. Patrick and St. Felim Cavan on 19 June 1983.
When he took up duty in Killasnett, Fr. Benny lived in the Newtownmanor Parochial House, since Newtownmanor was part of the Killasnett Parish at that time along with Glencar and Mullies.
He became a much loved priest during his time in Killasnett from which he was transferred in 1988 as curate to Ballintemple, Cavan and then transferred again as curate in 1991 to Drumkilly, Cavan.
Fr. Benny’s missionary work commenced in 1992 when he volunteered for the Kilmore Mission to Lagos in the St. Matthew’s Amokoko Parish, Nigeria where he served for six years.
When Fr. Benny returned from Nigeria in 1998, he was appointed curate in Clifferna, Cavan where he served for three years.
Once again, the former Killasnett curate returned in 2001 to the Kilmore Mission to Lagos in the St. Mathew’s Amokoko Parish, Nigeria where he served for thirteen years until 2014 when he was appointed as curate to the cross-border Killesher and Kinawley Parish, which takes in Swanlinbar, and where Fr. Benny resided until his retirement in March of this year.
Paying tribute to Fr. Benny at his Funeral Mass in Swanlinbar, Glenfarne native and Ballinamore PP, Fr. Sean Mawn remarked that although he “might have been a man of few words, he did his talking through his deeds.
“He was blessed with a deep faith and served his people with a great zeal, generosity and dedication.”
In another tribute to Fr. Benny, the Kilmore Diocese said he “will be very sadly missed and fondly remembered by his sister Madeleine (McCormack) Castletara, all his nephews and nieces far and wide, cousins, Bishop Martin Hayes, Bishop Emeritus Leo O’Reilly, all his brother priests of the Diocese of Kilmore, and the many people who became special friends during his ministry.”
Fr. Benny’s Funeral Mass was celebrated in St. Mary’s Church, Swanlinbar, on Monday 3 May at noon and was followed by the burial in his family plot at St. Brigid’s Church, Killygarry, Cavan.
Meantime the Kilmore Diocese is encouraging all who wish to make donations “in memory of Fr. Benny to help continue his building programme in Lagos, Nigeria.”
Donations can be made “in care of McMahon Funeral Directors, Farnham Road, Cavan, or to any family member.”
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