Congratulations to Fr Paddy on the 70 year anniversary of his ordination! Below is a short biography and tribute by one of his long time friends and parishioners in Sidmouth, the wonderful Peter McGauley.
Father Patrick Kilgarriff was born on 12 October 1927 in Ballaghadereen, County Roscommon in Ireland to Martin and Ellen, who already had a daughter, Brigid born in 1920.After junior seminary, young Paddy went up to All Hallows Seminary in Dublin, run by the Vincentian Fathers. He was ordained in the college chapel on 21 June 1953. Out of the 34 ordinands in the class of ‘53 only Fathers Paddy and Denis Collin are still alive. 1953 saw 8 priests ordained for Plymouth and again only Fathers Paddy and Denis are still with us.
Once ordained, Father Paddy travelled to Plymouth to spend 5 years as a Cathedral curate. This was followed by curacies at Teignmouth, Tiverton, Sidmouth and Branksome in Poole. Father then went to Lynton as Parish Priest, followed by Ilfracombe and finally Sidmouth in 1979 until his resignation from active ministry in September 2002. At his retirement party and presentation many tributes were paid, but the most memorable was from the Anglican Rector of Sidmouth speaking on behalf of all the town clergy. The Rector pointed out that Father was the longest serving Minister of Religion in the Town, widely respected by his brethren all who regarded him with love and respect as their elder brother. Father Paddy was an accomplished preacher with a fantastic memory that enabled him to welcome by name many a returning parishioner or holidaymaker, much to their delight.
While in active ministry Father Paddy was for many years Chair of the Trustees of the Plymouth Diocesan Clergy Fund, Diocesan Organiser of the Propagande Fide Red Box scheme, the longest serving Governor of St John’s School in Sidmouth and chaplain to the sister of the Assumption until the convent closed. After retirement, Father stayed on in Sidmouth continuing to use his considerable pastoral gifts as a supply priest, hosting a prayer group and always welcoming the many who knocked on his door or rang him up. Recently Father has moved into a local Care Home where he still extends a warm welcome to those who visit him and exercises his Sacred Ministry as far as he is able.
Below is an extract from a magazine edited by John Defoe, which included a piece on ‘Father Kilgarriff’s one-line sermons, which provide inspiration, levity and capture the warm-hearted and insightful essence of a man who has made such a lasting and positive impact on the communities he has served!
“Teach us Good Lord in the confusion of our lives to remember the things that really matter”
“A smile is a light in the window of your face that shows your heart is at home.”
“There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly becomes any of us to talk about the rest of us.
“My parents did two things for me; they gave me a sense of my own importance and they let me know that I was loved.”
“You are precious in my eyes and I love you.”
“Good health, life and friendship is more precious than silver or gold.”
“Love not time will cure everything.”
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”
“You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving.”
“Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.”
“No Jesus – no peace. Know Jesus – know peace.”
“Seven days without prayer makes one week”
“A clear conscience makes a soft pillow.”
Thank you once more to John Defoe, Jill and Peter McGauley for contributing the photographs and tributes featured, to Saskia Hogbin for her help in creating the collage and to Rebecca, the parish secretary at Sidmouth for all of her kindnesses!