WE IN THE ORATORY SOCIETY RECENTLY LOST ONE OF OUR PRIESTS – THE 84 YEAR OLD FATHER TED FLANAGAN OF CLOGHER, THE UK AND DONEGAL.
Here is an article about his life, death and funeral from the Donegal newspaper THE TIRCONAILL TRIBUNE.
FANAD MOURNS DEATH OF TED FLANAGAN
The sudden death of Edward (Ted) Flanagan at his home in Ballywhoriskey early on Thursday morning has saddened the community among whom he lived with his wife Catherine for many years.
He is also survived by his children Edward, Richard, Irene, John (all UK) and Jeremy (Peru), his grandchildren, extended family, neighbours and his many friends to whom deep sympathy is extended. He was in his 85th year.
A celebration of Ted’s life was help at his home on Sunday with independent Bishop Pat Buckley from Larne celebrating the Mass.
Ted Flanagan, said Bishop Buckley was originally from Ballyshannon and was ordained a priest for the diocese of Clogher. He met and married the love of his life, Kate, and was asked to a meeting at the bishop’s house in Monaghan for a conversation about his future in the ministry. He never did attend and nothing happened.
He went on to continue with his vocation and spiritual work in England, visiting and teaching in prisons and other pastoral work. Ted went into teaching and was also an accomplished musician and singer. For years he was a parish organist.
Bishop Buckley remarked: “Once a priest, always a priest”.
He said the chalice he was using for the Funeral Mass was the one presented to Ted when he joined the congregation in Larne.
The bishop said that Ted and Kate “had been soulmates for almost sixty years, wonderful years…they were joined at the hip”.
They had a very diverse life and a loving life, enjoying the many good times and successfully confronting the many challenges that arose.
He said Ted was generous, a man of diversity, study, music but above all else a family man of whom all who encountered his presence could testify.
Bishop Buckley said he and Ted travelled to Lourdes 20 years ago and thereafter he joined his congregation in Larne and carried out many duties, weddings, prayer and reflection and his passing is deeply mourned.
The Mass in the family home was attended by a wide range of people reflecting Ted’s contacts with many different interests. The music reflected Fr. Ted’s personality and his diversity – “Hey Jude”, “Save the Last Dance for Me” among the most popular. Afterwards the mourners, including members of the Flanagan cousins joined the family for food and to reflect on the life and times of Ted and how close Ted and Kate were to nature here in Ballywhoriskey.
This indeed was a most fitting farewell to a man who loved life, his ministry, his family and the Fanad Peninsula.
Bishop Buckley who had visited the family home on many occasions in the past said it was a great honour to be here to say a final farewell to Ted on a Sunday afternoon.
A private cremation too place in Cavan on Monday.
Ted’s passing is the end of an era for his family, friends and neighbours. His charming presence was a light for all. His music and singing entertained many into the wee hours.
Ted was a priest of Clogher diocese and even though he fled to England with Kate there was never any canonical action taken against him. He lived and died a priest of Clogher – and of course The Oratory Society.
On the 50th anniversary of ordination Ted came to Maynooth to celebrate with his classmates. His classmates, including 2 bishops – Lagan of Derry and O’Reilly of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise insist he concelebrate the anniversary Mass with them.
He went into teaching and as well as teaching in schools he taught in prisons.
He, with Kate, brought 5 children into the world – and all have done well – 3 are solicitors, one is in the catering trade and one is engaged on environmental work in Peru.
When Kate had her children raised she went to Hull University to study law and qualified as a solicitor too.
Ted was centre when it came to politics – but Kate was to the very left of the Labour Party in the UK.
In many ways his life was prophetic – a priest, a married man, a father and a breadwinner.
60 years ago he did what the RC church has not really got around to today.
A clerical contributor to this blog has said that Ted and Kate were fond of their drink – but he did not express it in that agreeable way.
They were fond of a jar. Many a jar I had with them. Their houses in England and Donegal were definitely party houses.
Their hearts were like their mountains in the homes of Donegal.