Moate in mourning after death of town's pastor

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 12th May, 2010 5:30pm

The passing of a dedicated, holy and much-loved Carmelite priest in Moate was met with great sadness by hundreds of people throughout the region this week.

Fr John Aidan Mulcahy passed away early on Monday morning after being in ill health for some time. He was 94 this year, the eldest member of the small community of the Order of Carmelites in Moate, and had been serving the people of Moate for almost 70 years.

A Limerick native from Rockborough Road, Fr John was ordained in 1941 and spent all of his religious life within the Moate community, serving the people very well.

Fr John was one of nine children. His father Edward was a blacksmith. He was educated at St Michael's and later at CBS Sexton Street. He got his calling to the priesthood after hearing a Carmelite priest speak about the Order and he was also inspired by the story of St Therese of Liseux. In fact he identified so much with the little flower's story that it was what inspired him to join the Carmelite Order.

At the age of 18, Fr John took his vows on September 30, 1934 and was later ordained on June 7, 1941 on his 25th birthday.

Fr John was a very popular and much-loved priest. He was a very spiritual man, quiet and focused on prayer, a man who locals feel had saintly qualities. He was known as a great man for counselling and confession and one who was truly devoted to the rosary. He looked after Communion classes over the years but his main work was questing; visiting people's homes and blessing their animals.

He also enquired after sick and ill people in hospital. He not only counselled people locally, but was known to provide counsel for prisoners as well. People would travel to get him to sign for mass cards and pray for people. He was very, very revered; people - especially those who needed prayers - got great solace from him.

He also had a great love for Ireland and the Irish culture.

Despite his lengthy life Fr John was still active in the Carmelite community up until recently, celebrating 10 o'clock Mass every morning.

In 2006, the popular priest celebrated two very important events in his life; his 90th birthday and the 65th anniversary of his ordination as a Carmelite priest. A huge crowd turned up on the night, to celebrate the gentle man's achievements, where his good friend and colleague Fr Brendan Reilly described him as having done a lot for humanity and for Christianity.

The funeral mass of Fr John O.Carm takes place today (Wednesday) in Moate at 12 noon in the Carmelite Church, with burial afterwards in the church grounds. His remains were in reposal at the Priory from Monday evening until removal on Tuesday and hundreds of mourners turned up to pay their respects.

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