Jan 19, 2016

Passing of a great missionary Fr. Jim Noonan

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has stated that the passing today of Fr. Jim Noonan today after a short illness has seen a remarkable priest and human being go to his eternal reward.

Loughill, Co. Limerick native Fr. Noonan, who had been unwell since last autumn, died at 8:30a.m. at the Kiltegan Missionoary Society Care Centre in Co. Wicklow.  He is survived by his brothers Michael and Tom and sisters Madeline, Joan and Mary.

A member of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society at Kiltegan, Fr. Noonan’s Funeral Mass will take place in Kiltegan on Thursday at 12 midday, with burial afterwards in the local parish cemetery.  His removal takes place tomorrow, Wednesday, at 5:30p.m. For local mourners in Limerick, there will also be an opportunity to pay their respects later at his Month’s Mind Mass which will be held in Foynes Church on a date to be selected.

Commenting on Fr. Noonan’s passing, Bishop Leahy said,  “He really was a remarkable man, a man who did quite remarkable work on the missions in Nigeria and in a very harsh environment there for all of 47 years.

“We have heard many stories of his incredible spirit of giving and Christianity. He was a true missionary and many, many people have spoken about how heroic he was in his work in Nigeria. He lived and worked in very difficult circumstances – in terms of climate, geographical and social conditions but he never relented.”

Bishop Leahy said that the parish of Shanagolden-Foynes was delighted to welcome Fr. Noonan home almost six years ago.  “Coming back from the missions after 47 years couldn’t have been easy for Fr. Jim but he settled back in so well and made an instant connection with parishioners.

“He was a quiet-spoken and gentle soul who had a deep interest in people and what was happening in their lives.  He had a really strong and innate sense of pastoral care and made very strong connections with people.  He will be very much remembered for that.

“Sadly, he fell ill late last year and I was pleased to have been able to visit him last week at the Kiltegan Missionary Society Care Centre and he was very much aware of his health situation but was still in good spirits. Indeed I found his whole approach very inspiring.

“As well as his having his breviary beside him, he was watching a Rugby match, reading the Limerick Leader and was well up to date on things in the Diocese.  He spoke with gratitude of his good experience in recent years in Foynes/Shanagolden. He really will be deeply missed and our heartfelt sympathies to this family and friends.”

Fr James Noonan died this morning, in the Care Unit in St Patrick’s, Kiltegan. Fr James, from Limerick, was ordained in 1962. He worked in Nigeria and Ireland.

May he rest in peace.

Removal from the Care Unit Oratory to St Patrick’s Chapel at 5:30pm on Wednesday 20th, January.

Funeral mass at midday on Thursday 21st.