THE LATE Monsignor Patrick J. Corish, the former President of St. Patrick's College Maynooth, who passed away last week, is regarded as one of the towering intellectual giants of the last century in Ireland.
Monsignor Corish, a native of Ballycullane, passed away on Thursday aged 91 years.
The remains of Monsignor Corish arrived at St. Aidan's Cathedral, Enniscorthy, on Saturday where they were received by Cardinal Sean Brady and Bishop Denis Brennan.
Referring to George Bernard Shaw's famous quote ' I want to be thoroughly used up when I die', Bishop Brennan said this accurately describes the passing of the late Monsignor.
He said even though Monsignor Corish never served in the diocese, because of his longevity and personality he was seen as a patriarchal figure.
'He had a deep love and loyalty to Ferns and Wexford and though his life was lived out in the service of the church nationally he never forgot us and until recent years returned frequently,' said Bishop Brennan.
A man with an understated but passionate love for the church, to the end he remained current in his thinking, staying abreast of events and new approaches. He enjoyed and was horrified in equal measure at the antics and acrobatics of the human condition, a study which both perplexed and tickled him, said the Bishop.
For over seventy years, Monsignor Corish made a huge contribution to academia in St. Patrick's College, Maynooth. He was the kind of teacher for whom every student longed. Entertaining, dedicated, serious, penetrating, supportive and challenging all at once - for many he was simply the best teacher they ever had.
Bishop Brennan paid tribute to him as a superb lecturer but as one of his past pupils said ' he didn't really lecture at all, he told the story.'
'He told the story with a warmth and a wisdom forged out of his own spiritual journey, a wisdom garnered from his wide learning and his own experience of life,' said Bishop Brennan.
'The seeds that Monsignor Paddy planted during his long tenure in Maynooth will have taken root and borne fruit in the lives of priests all over Ireland and indeed all over the world'.
For his professional colleagues he was a first class researcher, introducing to Irish ecclesiastical history in particular the scholarly innovations and methodological advances characteristic of the best continental historiography.
He contributed crucially to the growth and consolidation of the department of history in Maynooth and ensured its status as the preeminent department in the Faculty and one of the best in these islands.
An engaging and talented writer, his books, articles and reviews constitute an important historical corpus in themselves and remain the sine qua non for an informed understanding of the history of the early modern Irish Catholic community.
His history of Maynooth College (1995) is well known and few books made as deep an impression on contemporaries as his provocative, elegant and eminently readable The Irish Catholic Experience (1985).
He acted for many years as the editor of the sources journal Archivium Hibernicum and coordinated the History of Irish Catholicism project. His work on the early modern Irish martyrs, along with that of Benignus Millett OFM, was crucial to the success of their cause in Rome.
'In an age of rotas and rosters, job sharing and flexi-breaks his has been an amazing record of service and dedication,' said Bishop Brennan concluding his sermon
'Priesthood wasn't something he did, it was something he was, it was his life'.
Monsignor Corish's remains were laid to rest yesterday (Monday) at the cemetery in Maynooth College grounds.
May he rest in peace.