Mgr. Patrick Finn P.P. (1938-2013) – A Life of Service

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Mgr Patrick Finn P.P. (1938-2013)

 

A Life of Service

 

1962-1967

Vocational School, Blanchardstown; Priest Teacher

and Chaplain to the Daughters Of Charity, Navan Road

 

1967- 1971

Vocational, Scoil Ide School Finglas; Chaplain

Cross And Passion Sisters, Glandore Rd; Chaplain

 

1971-1975

Kilquade Parish; Curate

 

1975-1983

Cabra Parish; Curate

 

1983

St. Patricks Missionary Society; Fidei Donum, Kenya

 

1983-1994

Clondalkin Parish; Curate

 

1994-2003

Dunlavin; Parish Priest

 

1999-2003

Diocese; Personnel Advisor

Blessington Deanery; Vicar Forane

 

2003-2013

…..                                     …Haddington Road Parish; Parish Priest

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A Tribute Amongst the Many

Large congregations came to St Mary’s Church over the past two days to pay their respects and to say their goodbyes to our beloved parish priest Mons Patrick Finn, or Fr Paddy as he continued to be known in the community at Haddington Road.  Paddy died following a long illness borne with immense courage and from a fifth perspective with a faith and a serenity that were truly remarkable and an inspiration to the many people who went to visit him while he was in St James Hospital and later in Our Lady’s Manor in Dalkey. The sparking humour and the hearty laugh remained alive and he retained his interest in the parish almost to the end.  He slipped away quietly last Wednesday afternoon.

In his homily at the reception of the body in his beautiful parish church, the refurbishment of which with his team was probably his greatest achievement, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin spoke warmly of a very wonderful priest; his many interests, his determination but perhaps above all of the gentleness and humanity that made him a really great pastor. He loved people simply as people, he was interested in them wherever he met them, in Ireland, in France anywhere he went. He had what Archbishop Diarmuid described as many “ecumenical
friendships” devoid of any kind of distinctions.

He was scholarly and widely read, with a particular interest in the question of faith and modern science. Amongst his favourite forms of relaxation were visits to bookshops, followed by a visit to a coffee shop to delve into his new purchases. I once met him sitting outside a coffee shop in the sun with a book.  “What are you reading Paddy?”, I asked “Ah, I like a bit of philosophy from time to time”, he replied showing me his well-worn copy of Emmanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, probably one of the most difficult texts in the whole of modern European philosophy. In 1994 he completed a doctorate himself not on philosophy but rather documenting the call to ministry of over 500 people in the small co-parish of Clonburris (West Dublin) where he ministered. It was indeed a measure of the man and a clear
illustration of where his heart lay, in people and in showing them at their best.

Haddington Road was to be Paddy’s last appointment but he certainly saved some of his best for this parish.  Speaking at his funeral yesterday, Dr Margaret Downes with whom he worked closely on the refurbishment of the church said: “Msgr. Patrick Finn – known to all as Fr. Paddy was a very special person. A man of scholarly achievements, he lived the Christian life in a meaningful way with a firm belief in God and life hereafter.  Friendly, welcoming and caring to all who crossed his path, especially those in difficult circumstances, and with a
fantastic sense of humour, he was the epitome of an ideal Parish Priest. Hidden behind this affable front was a man of vast ability with leadership qualities and determination  – and thus today we, at St.  Mary’s Haddington Road, have one of Dublin’s most beautiful churches supported by a caring dynamic community.

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Dear colleague and friend to so many – farewell, it was good to know you. Slán abhaile agus ar dheis Dé go glachfaigh d’anam.