01 March 2006
Fr Joseph (Joe) Brennan SMA
Fr Joseph (Joe) Brennan SMA passed away peacefully in the afternoon of 01 March 2006 at St Theresa’s Nursing Unit, SMA House, Blackrock Road, Cork. He had been unwell for a number of years but was in good form up to the previous day.
Joe was born on 15 November 1925 in Newcastle-on-Tyne in the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle in England. He was an only child and both his parents died when Joe was very young, his father having been killed in a mining accident. Joe was reared by his aunt. As a youth he spent some time as a miner and came to Castlecomer to work in the mines there. He also spent some time in the Irish Army.
Finding a need for another kind of service, Joe came to the SMA in 1952 to the Society’s Noviciate at Cloughballymore, Kilcolgan, Co Galway and became a temporary member of SMA on 14 June 1954. He continued his studies of theology at Dromantine, Newry, Co Down and became a permanent member on 12 June 1957. He was ordained to the priesthood on the 18th June 1958 at St Colman’s Cathedral, Newry.
His first appointment was to the Diocese of Jos and he ministered there until 1977, serving in various parishes of the Diocese. His first experience of illness brought him back to Europe and he worked in the Diocese of Leeds 1977-1986. He then spent 1986-1989 in Castlecomer. From 1989 to 1992 he was on assignment in the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle. Due to deteriorating health conditions he was forced to retire to Dromantine in 1992, to Wilton in 1998 and finally to Blackrock Road in 2002.
Fr Joe is mourned by various cousins from America, England and Ireland as well as many friends and former parishioners.
On Thursday, 2 March, his remains were removed to the SMA Parish Church, Wilton. The funeral Mass was concelebrated at Wilton SMA Parish Church on Friday, 3 March. The Provincial Superior, Fr Fachtna O’Driscoll SMA, was the main concelebrant and preached the homily. He was joined at the altar by Fathers Sean Hayes (Joe’s classmate), Sean Lynch (representing the Blackrock Road community), Fionnbarra O Cuilleanain and Bernard Cotter (both worked alongside Joe in Jos Diocese). Fr Joe was then laid to rest in the adjoining SMA cemetery.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis. Requiescat in pace.