Funeral Rites of Fr James Conlon SMA
On Sunday, 2 April, the remains of Fr James Conlon were removed to St Theresa’s Oratory at the SMA House, Blackrock Road where prayers and the Rosary were led by Fr Billy O’Sullivan SMA.
On Monday, 3 April, a large congregation gathered for the removal of Fr Conlon’s remains to St Joseph’s SMA Parish Church in Wilton. Before his removal the House Leader, Fr Colum O’Shea gave a brief address and led the prayers. The cortege then travelled across the city to Wilton where Fr Dan Cashman and SMA confreres waited to welcome Fr Jim for the last time. A classmate, Fr Leo Silke read from Isaiah 42:1-7 and Psalm 41:1-6. Fr Cashman read from the Gospel of St John (14:1-7) before the latter gave the following short address:
“Until his final three weeks Fr Jim was a member of our SMA Community here in Wilton. He joined us in 2007. Apart from the addition of years he was still the same self-disciplined and principled man I knew in Benin City in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Fr Jim was always a man of prayer and his one regret during his recent illness was the fact that he felt unable to join the Community each morning at the Eucharist.
He spent thirty years of his life as a Spiritual Director in a major seminary in Nigeria and those to whom he ministered during their years of preparation for the priesthood often spoke of his concern for their spiritual welfare and his emphasis on developing a love of prayer and the Eucharist in their own ministry.
Over the past year as the illness began to take its toll he displayed a remarkable degree of patience and acceptance of his condition. In his final weeks he seemed t5o have received that special gift of the Holy Spirit – the gift of fortitude which prepared him to follow Christ on the way of the Cross.
Often during the last year Jim spoke about how happy he was to be near his brother Hughie who is buried in our cemetery. Jim would spend some time each day praying at that grave and the graves of other SMA missionaries he knew. Now God, in His goodness, has answered Jim’s prayer to join Hughie in the fullness of life. May he rest in peace.”
After a decade of the Rosary, recited by the Bishop of Cork & Ross, Rt Rev John Buckley, the congregation were invited to light refreshments in the Community Dining room.
Fr Jim’s remains at Our Lady’s Shrine, St Joseph’s SMA Church, Wilton
Fifty SMA priests, OLA and Mercy Sisters, Fr Jim’s immediate family and friends gathered for the 12 noon Funeral Mass led by the Provincial Leader, Fr Fachtna O’Driscoll SMA. The assisting principal concelebrants were Fathers Leo Silke and James O’Hea, both classmates of Fr Jim, and the Wilton community Leader, Fr Dan Cashman SMA.
Brother Jim Redmond SMA played the Organ for the Mass and the Cantor was an tAthair Cormac Breathnach SMA, PP of the SMA Wilton parish, and the MC was Fr Denis Collins SMA.
Fr Jim’s nephews, Hugh Conlon and Hugh Hayes, read the Readings at the Mass and 3 grandnephews and a grandniece of Fr Jim led the Prayers of the Faithful.
At the end of the Prayers in the Church, Fr Jim’s remains were shouldered to the grave by some of his nephews. Fr Jim is buried close to his brother, Fr Hugh SMA, who predeceased him by 11 years.
Fr Leo Silke SMA concluded the Burial rite with the recitation of a decade of the Rosary. This was immediately followed by lunch for everyone in the community Dining Room.
The headstone for the late Fr Hugh Conlon SMA