Prayers for the Dead and Rosary for the late Fr Billy O’Sullivan SMA were recited at the community Oratory in Blackrock Road on the evening of Tuesday, 26 March 2013. There was an overflow congregation. One person remarked afterwards that Fr Billy was always good to draw a crowd.
The prayers were led by the Community Leader, Fr Colum O’Shea.
Usually on occasions like this Fr. Billy would be in the thick of things, meeting people, making sure everyone is comfortable, offering people tea and ‘currantie cake,’ leading the rosary.
He was so full of life and energy it makes it all the harder to accept his death.
We all have our own memories of Fr. Billy.
My first contact with him was way back in 1961. I was a Mass server here in Blackrock Road and Fr. Billy appeared on the scene – a fine young man, tall dark and handsome.
He retained his youthful looks and youthfulness throughout his life. That might have had something to do with his long association with the Boy Scouts.
1961 was the beginning of his years as SMA Vocations Director. While he will be remembered far and wide for the great success he enjoyed in this ministry, he also ministered in other capacities in Nigeria, in England as well as in Ireland.
Our paths crossed again in the SMA seminary in Ibadan where we soldiered together for a number of years.
Fr. Billy was good company, a great man to tell a story and he had plenty of them. This ability to tell a good story seems to be a family trait.
He also had a great memory, he could recall incidents that happened years ago, and not only that but could put a date and a time on them.
He was a dedicated priest, a great missionary. One lady remarked earlier today that “Fr. Billy was a great priest and a good tonic.”
He was a man of faith. He was a man who cherished his faith above everything else. He had great devotion to Divine Mercy, Padre Pio, Our Lady.
He was very much a family man. He took great interest in his family and extended family. During recent weeks, when Fr. Billy was in hospital his family turned out in numbers to show their love and affection for him. He was never on his own. I’d imagine he never felt alone. If he had been able to communicate he would probable have asked ‘do ye have any homes to go to.’
He was a proud Blackpool and Glen Rovers man.
For the past seven years he was on the staff of this house. He was ever ready to drive people to the hospital or station or airport at any time of the day or night. He was most generous and obliging.
He will be sadly missed by the community here and by his family and friends. We offer our sympathy to his sisters, Eileen, Kathleen, Noreen; his brothers Michael and Jerry, to their respective spouses and families.
May he rest in peace.