Fr James McAuliffe was a likeable man with many musical talents

The late Fr James McAuliffe.

Myles BuchananWicklow People

FR James McAuliffe of the 1965 St Patrick’s Missionary Society Class was laid to rest on Friday in the Society Cemetery in Kiltegan following his funeral mass held in St Patrick’s Chapel.

James was a very likable man and had no difficulty fitting into any community. His pleasing personality and his musical talents endeared him to many people. He made many friends in Buchlyvie and in his parish work in Bournemouth.

He moved into the Care Unit in 2014 as his health began to decline but he continued to play the piano to entertain the residents. He died peacefully in St Patrick’s, Kiltegan, on the afternoon of May 2.

Fr James Anthony McAuliffe was born on September 22, 1938 in Kilrush, Co Clare, son of Matilda (née McNamara) and Francis McAuliffe. James was the elder of two sons. James attended CBS Kilrush from 1944 to 1949 for his primary education. He had his secondary education also in CBS Kilrush from 1949 to 1955.

In September 1956 James joined the Spiritual Year in Kiltegan. From 1957 to 1961 he studied for his B.A. Phil and B. Mus degrees in University College Cork and then proceeded to Kiltegan for theology from 1961 to 1965. James was one of eighteen young men (which included his brother Frank) ordained for the Society by Bishop Joseph Rodgers of Killaloe in Killamoat, Co Wicklow, on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1965.

After ordination James was appointed to Abakaliki (Ogoja Diocese) Nigeria, where he worked until 1968. He was then appointed to St Patrick’s Buchlyvie (Promotion Team) in Scotland. While on the staff in St Patrick’s Buchlyvie James did a sabbatical course on liturgy at the Liturgical Centre, Portarlington from September 1975 to June 1976. James was transferred to Promotion House in Slough, England in 1980.

Later in 1980 James was appointed to the Diocese of Portsmouth, England where he served in two parishes – Our Lady Immaculate Parish and Sacred Heart Parish, Bournemouth – for thirty years.

In 2010 James left Portsmouth Diocese and retired to Kiltegan. He was loved and respected by the people in the parishes where he worked. His gentle, unthreatening manner made it very easy for people to approach him. His popularity was seen in the very large number who attended his farewell party in Westbourne. He put his musical talents to good use in making the Sunday Mass a prayerful celebration.

Fr James was a very talented musician. He was pitch perfect: he had the ability to identify any musical note by name after hearing it, without reference to other notes. He provided an invaluable service to the community by directing the singing and playing the organ at all Masses and liturgical ceremonies. James was, also, a gifted entertainer, and with Fr Martin Dwan frequently entertained the students in Buchlyvie and the people who came to Open Day in Scotland every year.

James had a great interest in sport, with tennis and rugby being his favourite sports. He was very pleased when the number of points for a try in rugby was increased from 3 pts to 5pts as he had written a letter to the newspapers at the time on this very topic.

James is predeceased by his parents, Matilda and Francis. He is survived by his brother Fr Frank, his cousins and their families, and his Society family.

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam uasal.