Thursday, 24th September 2020

Death of Fr Oliver Kennedy SSC, a past Spiritual Director

Posted on 23. Jun, 2013 in Carousel

Fr Oliver Kennedy  2

The death has occurred of Fr Oliver (Oli) Kennedy SSC who was the Spiritual Director of the Irish College in 2007-8. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Funeral Arrangements:

Reposing at St. Columban’s, Dalgan Park, Navan. Office and Prayer for the Dead on Sunday 23rd June 2013 at 7.30pm. Concelebrated Requiem Mass on Monday morning at 11.30am. Burial immediately afterwards in the Community Cemetery.

Life and Ministry of Fr Oliver Kennedy, details provided by the Columban Fathers:

Fr Oliver M.J. Kennedy

(1942 – 2013)

Oliver Kennedy died suddenly in the Columban Nursing Home in Dalgan, on 21st June 2013.  Born on 2 June 1942 in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, he was educated at  Mercy Convent school, CBS Tuam, and St Jarlath’s College. Coming from Tuam in those days meant that he came to the Columbans in 1959 with an enviable reputation on the sports field, one that proved well founded and lasted well into his days on mission.

He was ordained in Dalgan Park, Navan on the 21st December 1965 and appointed to Korea.  After two years language studies he was assigned to the recently-created diocese of Wonju.  After a short time in Wondong city parish, Oliver spent the next ten years in the mountain parishes of Jongson, Hwangji and Pyeongchang.  These were poor and isolated places with few Catholics. This was also the time when the military government of Park Chung Hee was clamping down on dissidents liked Bishop Daniel Tji of Wonju.  When the bishop was jailed, his diocese led the protest movement in the country and suffered heavy police surveillance.  Oliver himself got a 24-hour grilling by the Korean CIA, but he was an obvious target as he stood out head and shoulders over most of the other protesters.

He studied Spirituality in Rome for two years from 1976 and relished the vibrancy of  Italian life and the Charismatic Renewal. He returned as pastor of Samchok on the east coast of Korea until he was asked to engage full-time in retreat and spiritual direction work from 1983.  He had a brief spell on vocation and retreat ministry in Ireland before returning to Korea to join in building a mission training programme for Columban students and to continue his retreat work with priests and Sisters.

When Oliver left Korea in after 35 years, he was able to take the experience of those years with him into the role of Spiritual Director in the Irish College in Rome, being appointed there in 2007.  He enjoyed his work there and reluctantly had to give it up following a severe stroke in 2008.  As usual he took on the challenge of dealing with his disabilities and learned to talk and walk again. Oliver gave his life in the service of others and enjoyed doing it.  He certainly paid little attention to himself and to his own needs but his family, and many friends throughout Korea and Ireland, will remember his generosity and his friendship for a long time.

May he rest in peace.