Fr Michael O’Farrell

Mar 15, 2023

Michael Augustine O’Farrell was born 14th July 1938 at Lismore, Co Waterford. He was educated at Presentation Convent, Lismore, CBS Lismore and St Joseph’s College, Ballinasloe. He came to Dalgan in 1956 and was ordained priest in 21 December 1962.

In March 1963 he was appointed to Greyfriars College, Oxford to study history. He and two of his classmates were destined to join the staff of St Columban’s School, Whitby, Yorkshire. This Columban venture was begun in 1963 but was closed in 1966 when Michael graduated.

In 1966, he was appointed to the staff of St Columban’s, Silver Creek, NY, a Columban high school for prospective students but this closed in 1968 and Michael was appointed to St Columban’s College, Oconomowoc, WS. This also closed within two years and he at last received an appointment to Japan in 1972.

After language studies, there followed appointments to Odawara, Kikuchi and Hitoyoshi. From 1982-1984 he taught in the Marist Brothers High School in Kumamoto, followed by three years at their school in Kengun. In 1985, he was pastor of Hiteyoshi, and in 1987 he was nominated as the representative from Japan on the Commission for the Chinese Apostolate, working from the Tokyo Procure.

Michael was appointed the Central Research and Information Coordinator in 1992, with residence in Dalgan, Ireland. He undertook the Columban History Project which involved entering on computer in retrievable form the results of a systematic review of the Far East, (both Ireland and Australian editions), Columban Mission and other Society-related publications. This huge task involved 67,000 separate entries.

In 2001, Michael was again appointed to Japan. He worked in research on China from the Tokyo procure until 2010. From 2010 to 2014 he was appointed once again to his favourite parish Hitoyoshi and laboured there until his deteriorating health led to his return to Dalgan in 2016.

Michael loved the Japanese, made huge efforts to be inculturated there, and was also a dedicated researcher. He suffered from aphasia in his later years and died in Dalgan Nursing Home on 14th March 2023.

May he rest in peace.

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