Fr Séan was a much-loved pastor in parishes across the world

The late Fr Seán Rynn.

Myles BuchananWicklow People

THE St Patrick’s Missionary Society pass on their sympathies to the family and friends of Fr Seán Rynn, who died peacefully on March 16 in the St Patrick’s Care Unit in Kiltegan.

His funeral mass was held in St Patrick’s Chapel Kiltegan followed by his burial in the Society Cemetery.

Seán was a respected teacher in his earlier years in Ikot Ekpene and a much-loved pastor in all the parishes in the four countries he worked in. He was often described as one of nature’s gentlemen, who always had a kind word for everyone, interspersed with wit and funny comments.

He was a committed missionary who kept up to date by participating in renewal programmes like “Faith and Mission” in Dalgan in 1980 and the spiritual renewal programme in St. Beuno’s, Wales in 1990.

Seán was a missionary to the core, always ready to go where he was needed most, showing great flexibility in settling down in different cultures and adapting to the different pastoral approaches demanded by the particular country he was assigned to work in.

John Joseph Rynn, popularly known as Seán, was born on April 13, 1938 in Druminalass House, Ballinaglera, Co Leitrim, to John Thomas Rynn and his wife Teresa (née Leydon). Seán had one brother Jim. He attended Urbal National School from 1945 to 1952 and had his secondary education in St Patrick’s College, Cavan, from 1952 to 1957.

In September 1957 Seán joined the Spiritual Year in Kiltegan. From 1958 to 1961 he studied for his BA degree in Cork and then proceeded to Kiltegan for theology from 1961 to 1965. Seán was among 18 priests ordained for St. Patrick’s Missionary Society by Bishop Cleary on April 18th 1965.

After ordination Seán was appointed to Ikot Ekpene diocese in Nigeria where he ministered until the end of the Biafran war in 1970.

After completing a sabbatical programme in Glenart, Co Wicklow, he was transferred to Eldoret Diocese, Kenya. After spending 28 years in Africa, he took on a new mission to the people of Grenada. In 1997 he was called to make another change to minister in the parish of St. Augustine’s, Datchet, England.

In 2017 Seán’s health forced him to retire to Kiltegan where he was cared for by the staff of the Care Unit for the last six years. He endured a variety of health emergencies during these years but made numerous recoveries.

On the morning of March 16, he attended a lecture on end of life care wishes, along with the rest of the Kiltegan community and staff.

However, after dinner he took a turn. Just after 7 pm he passed away peacefully in the presence of Frs. Enda Kelly and Ned Grace.

Seán is predeceased by his parents John Thomas and Teresa and his brother Jim and his sister-in-law Kay.

He is survived by his nephew Seán and his wife Cliona and their family, and his Society family in Kiltegan.