This year a former staff member of St Kieran’s College Secondary School and a priest of the diocese Fr Seamus Henry died. Mr Art Anglin, retired from the school staff, recalls Seamus and working with him.
Fr Seamus was a very respected colleague of mine on the staff of St Kieran’s, while his parents were neighbours on the College Road. He taught the Physics/Chemistry course to the Leaving Cert class in St Kieran’s, very successfully.
Another colleague of Fr Henry, during his days in St Kieran’s was Mons. Michael Ryan who gave a wonderful sermon at Seamus’ funeral and from this I quote: “from his home in St Mary’s Parish, in Wellington Square, Seamus was blessed with the example of faith from his parents and the priests of his parish and the faith communities that he was part of in CBS Primary School and St Kieran’s College”.
Most noticeably Seamus was blessed with a fine intellect and as a result he could have taken any course in the university in 1954 but after prayer and reflection he offered himself as a candidate for the priesthood – that was the Marian Year – and all his life he had a great devotion to the B.V.M. I saw his Rosary with his Breviary on his coffin. His parents and his sister supported his decision to go to Maynooth.
Fr Seamus was ordained on 18th June 1961 – the Patrician Year – and after one year in the parish of Durrow he was appointed to the teaching staff of St Kieran’s, a position he held for 19 years. Seamus was a gifted and dedicated teacher who gave his all to his pupils and expected no less in return from them.
He loved teaching; no doubt it was in his genes. His Dad, James Henry had come from Sligo to teach Science and Maths in the old Technical School on Parliament Street.
Later he was headmaster of the new City Vocational School when it opened in 1940, continuing in that position until he retired in 1955. He continued as a part time teacher well in to the 1970s.
Fr Seamus was happy to move from teaching back into parish ministry in 1982 when he moved to Ballyragget and his mother, who had been living on her own in College Road, moved with him. He moved to Freshford in 1987 and spent 24 years as Parish Priest there. He was a man of simple tastes both as teacher and as priest, gifted but unassuming.
He spent his retirement in Freshford until he died of ill-health in 25th February 2014. Seamus is remembered fondly by many – parishioners and old school colleagues. His great contribution to the school and diocese is a testimony to the man he was.