THERE WAS an outpouring of grief last week following the passing of Fr Fintan Morris who had a seven-year spell as curate in Cleariestown.
A native of Tinahely, Co Wicklow, Fr Morris served the Parish of Kiltealy for the past eight years where he positioned himself right at the very heart of community life.
The 51-year-old had battled with illness for some time and he passed away on Monday of last week at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin. Fr Morris reposed at St Patrick's Church, Kiltealy, so that locals could pay their respects before making the relatively short journey to his native Tinahely for funeral Mass on Friday, which was celebrated by Bishop Denis Brennan.
Fr Morris was a priest for 26 years, having been ordained at Killaveney, Tinahely, on May 31, 1991. From there, he furthered his education for a further three years before a brief stint teaching at St Peter's College in Wexford from 1994 to 1996.
After that, Fr Morris wanted to see some of the world and he worked in Amercia for a year from 1996 to 1997, an experience he enjoyed greatly. Upon his return, he was appointed curate for Cleariestown, a position which he held for seven years and during which time he made some great friends in the local community.
A great believer in bettering oneself, Fr Morris returned to his studies from 2004 to 2007 and he became curate for Caim in 2007, where he stayed for two years before moving to Kiltealy in 2009.
A great educator, Fr Fintan was a staff member at Carlow College for many years where he taught history. In June of 2015, he was appointed College Vice President along with Fr John McEvoy and in November 2016, he was appointed as a member of the College's first Governing Body.
A tribute by the college said: 'Fr Fintan was a staff member of the College for many years and was a very popular lecturer in History. I know from many past students that he was very generous in the time he gave students and his past students speak very highly of him. His passing at such a young age is a great loss to his family, to his Parish Kiltealy (Ballindaggin), his Diocese of Ferns, and the Carlow College, St. Patrick's College community.'
Tributes poured in for Fr Morris throughout the week with former parishioners describing him as 'a great family friend' and 'a great man'.
Leading the tributes at the large funeral Mass on Friday was Bishop Denis Brennan who described a hard-working and educated man, devoted to his duties. After the funeral Mass, he was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.
Fr Fintan was predeceased by his brother Seamus and niece Holly. He was the loving son of Des and Mary, brother of Micheál, Paudge, Martin, Deirdre, Enda and Aoife and godfather to Delphi. He is sadly missed by his loving parents, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, extended family and friends.
He is also mourned by Bishop Denis Brennan and all his brother priests in the Diocese of Ferns, along with his parish family in Kiltealy. May he rest in peace.