By Jim McGuigan,
P.P., of Cranbourne, Australia
Paddy King from Brown Street., was born on October 25th.
1929. He was educated by the Christian Brothers at Carlow
and entered St, Patrick's College, Carlow in 1946. He was
ordained there by Bishop Thomas Keogh on June 6th. 1952. As
he was only 22 years of age it was necessary for him to
obtain a special dispensation so that he could be ordained
before reaching the age prescribed by Canon Law. He died on
15th October, 1987.
Fr. Paddy King was a 'callow youth' five weeks
short of his 17th birthday when I first met him, early
September, 1946, in the grounds of St. Patrick's College,
Carlow. He would like that phrase 'Callow youth'. He and I
often joked about our early days in the Seminary and we used
the term rather in-discriminately about fellow students and
ourselves. Fr. Paddy King was anything but callow when, just
short of his 58th birthday, he died a very peaceful and holy
death in St. John of God Hospital, Geelong, Victoria,
Australia, on 15th October, 1987, the feast of St. Theresa.
Leaving reference to his life in Ireland to friends and
relatives in Ireland. I shall confine myself to the story of
Paddy's life in Australia.
On the day of his Ordination, 8th June,
Thirty-Five years a Priest. The
vestments were a gift from Carlow.
We both travelled to Australia in, the company of several
other recently ordained priests, on the 'Strathedin' (P & O
Line) arriving in Melbourne on the Feast of the Immaculate
Conception (8th December, 1952). We had already sampled
Australia in one day stopovers in Perth and Adelaide; both
beautiful cities, where we experienced a generous measure of
hospitality at the hands of the Federal Minister of Trade,
Mr. Sullivan, who gave us a sightseeing trip by taxi. Also
we were made to feel very welcome by the gracious and
friendly family of Betty and Alan Carmody, who shared with
us the voyage from London to Melbourne, as well as some of
the privileges of first class passengers, (we, of course,
were travelling second class down in G. deck). The Columban
Fathers met us at hte dock and invited us to stay overnight
at their house in Essendon.
Paddy and I parted company then. I to St. Mary's Cathedral
Parish, Sale, and he to Our Lady of the Assumption Parish,
Swan Hill. Swan Hill is situated about 350 miles inland and
N/W from Melbourne. It lies in the heart of a vast Citrus
Fruit growing area, and Paddy's first sighting of his new
home would have been mile after mile of a delightful green
carpet of orange, where in summer the heat can be quite
intense — often over the 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The winter
climate can be very pleasant, cool nights, warm and sunny
Paddy very quickly got involved in the priestly Ministry.
Already he was making a name for himself as a preacher — not
in the flamboyant style of the parish missions, but rather
in the 'Mannix' mould — simple. succinct, topical — a
remarkable economy of words, and low key conversational
Perhaps, I should say, after the Master's style, too . . .?
Paddy had an extraordinary facility for drawing powerful
lessons on Christian living from the ordinary everyday
events of life: footballers, coaches, captains, the crops,
the seasons, the economic climate, and so on, there were no
big words in Paddy's vocabulary!
One can easily imagine the discomfort he experienced in
driving to outlying parts for Sunday Mass, Catechetics in
the scattered Government schools, administering Communion to
the sick and elderly, in a car that was as hot as an oven!
Paddy was suitably instructed in his youth, in the place the
Cross has in the Christian life. On one of his rare trips
back to Melbourne, he was involved in a car accident, which
hospitalised him for several months. He was left with a
chronic back complaint, a source of much pain — equally, a
source under God of a great Christian patience and
acceptance of adversity. For Paddy, as a Paul, the language
of the Cross might be illogical to those who are not on the
way to Salvation, those who arc on the way to see it as
God's power to save!
From that time in 1953 till his death in '87 Paddy was
scarcely a day without pain — and who will ever know the
traumas, the frustration, the disappointments, the
opposition, that is the lot of any good priest, and most
assuredly, was Paddy's lot!
Paddy's long hospitalisation with the John of God Sisters in
Ballarat occasioned my next meeting with him where I
witnessed his bearing up under great pain and-stress.
Over the next decade Paddy had appointments in Horsham,
Hamilton, Koroit, Warrnambool, Coragula, Charleton, and
during this decade, apart from my visiting him in hospital,
following his accident we saw little of each other.
Our paths crossed again in 1962 when Paddy came to Fish
Creek to recuperate after yet another bout of illness. I was
able as Parish Priest of Fish Creek, to extend hospitality.
From that time onwards, Paddy and I met on a regular basis.
Usually it was a noon to 5 p.m. thing as both of us had
Pastoral obligations back in our respective parishes. One
time it would be to have a meal in the city, another time to
view a film. You could always rely on Paddy to choose a film
that was 'rated' just right!
During these last 25 years, I was stationed in parishes with
easy access to the beach, and Paddy would grace our
presbytery with a couple of visits of 3-4 days duration each
summer. Paddy loved the beach, as most people do, but for
Paddy, a swim in the sea had the added benefit of being
theraputic. I in turn would be Paddy's guest for a couple of
days, once or twice a year, For whatever reason,
Paddy always believed housekeepers were dispensable. So, on
the occasions of my visits, I was treated to Paddy's special
breakfasts of Wheaties and Talk-back Radio. Talk-back Radio
sessions, for Paddy, as Pastor and Shepherd, were invaluable
ways of getting to know what the man/woman in the street
"were on about". And of course, Paddy knew very well that
the man/woman in the street on Wednesday and Thursday was
the man/woman in the pew on Saturday/Sunday!
Paddy had only recently been appointed P.P. of Coragulac.
Once during a visit I heard a father of a large family,
quote one of his teenage children, after the Sunday Mass, as
saying 'that's the first time I've really listened to a
Every afternoon about 4 o'clock, Paddy left his sick bed and
travelled the 75 - 100 yards to the convent chapel, where he
celebrated the Eucharist with the sisters and congregation.
I had the privilege of celebrating with him on Monday,
October 12th. This was to be the last Mass Paddy would
celebrate, I anointed him during the Mass and fittingly, the
Bishop, Ronald Mulkearns was present at the Mass. So were
the nuns of St. John of God and some priest friends, amongst
them Fr. Paddy Gulligan, one of Paddy's great admirers; a
very sincere and life long friend.
On the afternoon of his death, October 15th, 1 again
celebrated Mass, this time with Fr. Pat O'Brien, another
life-long friend of Paddy's, and this time the Mass was in
Paddy's hospital ward. Fr. O'Brien remarked that just as St.
Teresa's name in religion was Teresa of Jesus — so indeed we
could refer to our sick friend as Patrick of Jesus. Indeed
Patrick and Jesus had become firm friends! It was so fitting
that practically all of Paddy's most dedicated friends
shared in that Mass.
Paddy completed the journey to Easier and the Resurrection
at about 3.00 p.m. on Thursday, October 15th. 1987. God rest
this true Catholic Priest: and proud boast of his Alma
Mater, St. Pat's. Carlow. God bless his revered parents, and
the staff of St. Patrick's for sharing in the formation of a
true man of God.
Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam.
Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm;
world's wildfire, leave but ash;
In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is,
since he was what I am and
This Jack, poor potsherd, patch,
Is immortal diamond.
Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Source: Carlow Past & Present 1987-88 Vol.1.
No. 2 Pages 41 & 42
- The information contained in these
pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with
others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
- © 2001 County
Carlow Irish Genealogy Project. IGP
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