Fr Seamus Nohilly SMA [RIP]

The members of the Society of African Missions [SMA] are mourning the unexpected death of their confrere, Fr Seamus Nohilly, who died peacefully in the Mercy University Hospital, Cork City, on Saturday evening, 24 February 2024 with family and SMA confreres at his side.

Seamus Nohilly, was the third of seven children born to Joe and Nora [née Burns] in the parish of Cummer, Tuam, Co Galway on 5 October 1943. After schooling in Cummer Monastery School and the SMA Sacred Heart College, Ballinafad, Co Mayo [1957-1962], Seamus completed his Novitiate at the African Missions, Kilcolgan, Co Galway. He did a BA Degree in the University College, Cork [1963-1966] before going to the African Missions Major Seminary at Dromantine, outside Newry, Co Down, where he completed his theology studies. Seamus was ordained in the Cathedral of St Patrick and St Colman, Newry, by Bishop Eugene O’Doherty on 17 December 1969, one of twenty SMA priests ordained on that day.

Fr Seamus was appointed to the Irish Province missions in Northern Nigeria, arriving in Apapa, Lagos, by the MV Aureol in August 1970. Along with nine of his classmates, he travelled north by train [36 hours] to the SMA Tyrocinium House in Kagoro, Kaduna State, where he spent several months learning the Hausa language. In 1971, Fr Seamus was appointed to assist Fr Bernie Cotter, SMA, in Zawan Teacher Training College in the then Diocese of Jos. From 1978 to 1991, Fr Seamus was involved in the formation of SMA seminarians, first in Ireland and later in Ibadan, Nigeria.

In 1992, Fr Seamus returned to Kagoro as a Resource Person for Ongoing Formation of Laity, Clergy and Religious. This led to his involvement in parish and Retreat work as well as accompanying some diocesan seminarians in St Augustine’s Major Seminary in Jos. In 1993, he was appointed as Deputy Regional Superior for Nigeria North and, in 1995, elected the Regional Superior for the SMA group in Northern Nigeria, succeeding Fr John O’Keeffe SMA. At the 2001 SMA Irish Provincial Assembly, Fr Seamus was elected to the Provincial Council and took up residence in Cork. After a Sabbatical break in 2008, he was appointed Superior of the SMA House in Claregalway, Co Galway before spending five years in parish work in the Diocese of Killaloe.

In 2019, Fr Seamus was appointed again as the Community Leader at the SMA Zimmermann House, Claregalway, Co Galway. From 2022 to 2023, he had a sabbatical break in the African Missions, Dromantine, Newry where he helped out when requested in neighbouring parishes and house duties.  Fr Seamus retired on 1 October 2023, and took up permanent residence in the SMA House, Wilton, Cork.

Fr Seamus was predeceased by his parents, his brothers Johnny and Fr Michael SMA.

Fr Seamus is deservedly mourned by his sisters Peggy [Gilmore] and Una [Mitchell] and his brothers Tom and Eamonn, his sisters-in-law Margaret and Marie and his brother-in-law Michael Mitchell as well as nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, other relatives, friends, the people of the Archdioceses of Jos and Ibadan, Nigeria, the Diocese of Killaloe, Ireland, and his confreres in the Society of African Missions.

Funeral arrangements later.

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