The death has occurred of Wexford Salesian priest Fr Tom Dunne, of Salesian House, Crumlin, Dublin, and formerly of 27 High Street and 10 Roches Terrace, Wexford.
Fr Tom, the eldest son of Michael and Anastacia Murphy, was born in New Ross on November 26, 1929, and later moved to Wexford town. Tom responded to God's call to Salesian religious life at the age of 18 when he entered the Salesian Aspirantate in Ballinakill, Co. Laois, in 1947.
He went to Beckford in England for his Novitiate on September 7 in the late summer of the Holy Year and made his first profession the following year on September 8, the birthday of Our Lady. He commenced his philosophical studies both in Shrigley and Ingersley from 1951 to 53 and was sent to Farnborough, where he did four years of practical training as part of his formation journey.
In July 1957, Tom made his final vows as a Salesian of Don Bosco in Melchet Court, where he began his theological studies and was ordained priest there on July 2, 1961, by Bishop Joseph Rudderham.
The Salesian Congregation founded for the education of young people, especially those most marginalised, meant Fr Tom spent many years in education and was a great teacher, especially of Geography. He graduated from University College, Dublin, in 1966.
He taught in the Salesian Colleges in Pallaskenry, Limerick and Celbridge, Co. Kildare. Most of his time as an educator (1968-1990) was spent in Ballinakill, where it had all began for him. During the summer holidays Fr Tom did pastoral work in different parishes in the US.
In 1992 Tom was appointed bursar of the Provincial House in Crumlin for the next seven years. In 1999 he was appointed provincial secretary, a post he held until 2013, when his health began to decline. He served under three provincials with great competency and efficiency.
The Lord called his faithful servant home on January 1, 2016. He was buried in his native Wexford after Requiem Mass in the Church of the Assumption on Tuesday, January 5.
Fr Tom was predeceased by his brother John in January 2015. He is survived by his sister Betty and brother Kieran, who would like to express their heartfelt thanks to His Lordship Bishop Denis Brennan, Fr Michael O'Shea, Fr Martin Byrne and Fr Tom's Salesian confreres, in particular provincial Fr Michael Casey for his compassion and care for Fr Tom in his illness.
They would also like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin and the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff at St Gabriel's Ward in Our Lady's Hospice who cared for him in his final illness. They wish to thank Terese and John for providing the lovely singing and music, Seán and Carol Kearney for their help and assistance and all of their friends and neighbours for their support at a very difficult time. Masses offered.
May he rest in peace.