- 15 July 1940 - 7 May 1997 (Creation)
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Born: 03 March 1922, Waterford City, County Waterford
Entered: 07 September 1940, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1954, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 September 1977, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Died: 07 May 1997, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin
Part of the Gonzaga College community, Dublin at the time of death.
Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ
Fr Kyran Fitzgerald (1922-1997)
3rd Mar. 1922: Born in Waterford
Early education: Waterpark College and Clongowes Wood College.
7th Sept. 1940: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1942: First Vows at Emo
1942 - 1945: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD
1945 - 1948: Tullabeg, Studying Philosophy
1948 - 1951: Clongowes, teaching Cl. Cert in Education
1951 - 1955: Milltown Park, studying Theology
29th July 1954: Ordained priest at Milltown Park
1955 - 1956: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1956 - 1961: Clongowes, teaching
1961 - 1968: Mungret College, teaching
1968 - 1970: College of Industrial Relations, studying Psychology at UCD
1970 - 1971: Galway, teaching & Career Guidance
1971 - 1986: Gonzaga, teaching & Career Guidance work ('71-'85)
1985 - 1986: Sabbatical
1986 - 1991: Chaplain, Lansdowne Road N. Home Subsequently listed as "assistant librarian" "writer".
Homily at Funeral Mass of Fr. Kyran Fitzgerald
We have come together this morning for Mass, to celebrate the eucharist: to remember with gratitude, with sorrow and with concern the passover of Christ in the first place, but today the passover also of Kyran. Doing this in memory of him, breaking together the Bread of the Word and the Bread of the Eucharist, we give thanks for the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth, for his suffering death and resurrection which, as the Creed puts it, were for us and for our salvation. But in that gratitude today we give special place to Kyran as a priest of the Society of Jesus. We give thanks for his life of self-sacrifice as a faithful Jesuit religious, a life which started long ago in 1940 when soon after the beginning of the London Blitz we both went as novices to Emo Park near Portarlington; we give thanks for his ministry as a devoted teacher of History and of Latin not only in Gonzaga but previously in Clongowes, Mungret and Galway, especially for his pioneering work as a career guidance counsellor: he was one of the founding members of that profession in this country; we give thanks too for his great capacity for friendship, for his gleaming eye and sense of humour, for his winning way with young people, for his love of fun and games and of celebrations such as the great party which - with so much thoughtfulness and imagination - the Matron of Cherryfield gave for him recently on the occasion of his 75th birthday.
As well as giving thanks at Mass we are sorry and ask forgiveness firstly of course for our ungratefulness and unfaithfulness in our following of Christ but in our sorrow at today's Mass we include and ask forgiveness for our failure to love Kyran as much as we should have, our failure to recognize and appreciate to the full all that he was by God's grace. He was a real charmer, brilliant in conversation skillful in argument and debate, patient and courageous and hopeful in suffering (as the first reading recalled so beautifully and so appositely), wide and catholic in the scope of his interests and strong in his convictions but tolerant, benignly tolerant with those of us who were unable to go along with all his views, political or theological, or unable to match his skill at bridge. And although he once loved to play a card game called 'Spite and Malice' and of course to win and therefore to beat you and to enjoy winning and beating you, there was in Kyran not the slightest trace of any spite or malice. He was innocent of all unkindness and uncharitablness. For our failure to appreciate to the full all these and other spiritual gifts, all these and other signs of God's goodness and grace we ask Kyran's forgiveness at this Mass.
But the eucharist, our Mass, expresses not only our gratitude and our sorrow but also our concern, our concern for the salvation of God's world, so we make intercession for God's people and in that intercession today we naturally give pride of place to Kyran's relatives, to his sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and extended family, to his Jesuit confreres, to all those whose interests he had and still has so much at heart: asking the Holy Spirit to come and comfort and console us. A special memento is of course owing to Dr. Joe Martin and to the Matron of Cherryfield, Nurse Mary Ryan and all her staff: they took exquisite care of him in his last years and in that way made all the more real for Kyran God's own loving care of him.
For me it is a special comfort and consolation that we are burying Kyran on what is in Ireland the Vigil of the Feast of the Ascension and that Wednesday last, the day he died, was the Vigil of the Ascension in most of the rest of the Christian world. There is, as I tried to tell him on Wednesday afternoon, a certain appropriateness in dying at Ascensiontide when we celebrate what was for Jesus the end of his earthly existence and his return to the Father in Heaven. Above all the Ascension reminds us of the great mystery enshrined in the last article of our Creed: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting”,
This mystery is hard to take, hard to stomach as the fourth gospel puts it with reference to the related mystery of the eucharist - the bread of immortality. It is mind-blowing, mind-boggling and we are all, each and every one of us, only too conscious of our hesitations and uncertainties, of our unbelief. But it is perhaps communities who believe rather than mere individuals and the Christian Community's sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, as expressed at Mass, in today's Mass especially, is therefore a great comfort to us in our own personal unbelief. We find our hearts strangely warmed by the Church's confident faith in the next life, in the after-life, in life with God, in everlasting life in the heavenly places where, as St. Paul tells the Corinthians, (1 Cor 15:42-54), our corruptible bodies will be mysteriously clothed with incorruption and immortality and glory and power.
When I was saying Mass last Wednesday evening shortly after visiting Kyran just two hours before he died and with him especially in mind, the epistle for the day was taken from St. Luke's account in the 17th chapter of Acts, of St Paul's speech to the Athenians in which he had proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Verse 32 read “at this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing”. Still today, perhaps even more so today and not only in Athens but everywhere, belief in the other world and in the last article of the Creed is just laughable, an idea to be dismissed with a laugh. For too many people the parameters and perspectives of their lives are very much this-worldly: getting and spending we lay vast our powers; a materialism and consumerism which puts things before people is too pervasive. Death makes such a life style very questionable: for those of us with any vestige of belief it is a salutary reminder that life may begin but hardly ends here below.
According to the Christian faith of the Church, life for Kyran is now changed not ended. He has completed his baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ, he has entered his promised inheritance and his joy none can now ever take from him. He has been warmly welcomed into Paradise not only by the choirs of angels and saints and by the Blessed Trinity but also by the members of his own family to whom he was always so devoted and whose photos were so prominent in his room: his mother and father, his beloved sister Peggy, and his distinguished brothers Oliver, Paddy, Gerald and Alexis. He will also have been warmly welcomed by the many friends who have gone before him marked with the sign of faith and not least, if I may say so, by our mutual friend, John Mulligan, with whom we both spent many an enjoyable holiday and with whom it will no doubt give Kyran special pleasure to discuss again the evolving political situation not only in these islands but all over the world.
We can no longer see or touch or hear Kyran but he is none the less close to us. The visible and tangible and audible is only a very small part of reality. Kyran has become part of the more vast, invisible universe and paradoxically but truly become even closer to us, because no longer subject to the limitations of life here below, the limitations of time and space. He has passed on, passed over, passed out of this world into the peace of heaven. We pray for him that he may rest in peace but only because we know that the rest and peace of heaven are not by any means to be equated with inactivity and indifference.
Shalom, the peace of heaven, is life, life in all its fullness and vibrancy, eternal life. As Jesus ascended into heaven 'on our behalf (Hebrews 6:20), 'for our good', 'to prepare a place' (In 14:2) for us, to give us hope, to send us the Spirit as a foretaste and promise here and now of the liberation and joy of the hereafter, so Kyran has gone before us not to abandon us but to prepare a place for us, not to forget us but to pray for us and indeed not only for us but for the whole Church and the whole world and the whole Society of Jesus. In Heaven, like Jesus and with Jesus, he now lives for ever to make intercession for us, to send down on us the Spirit who renews the face of the earth and the face of the Church; he has gone before us so that where he is we also may be: with him in our Father's house where there are many rooms.
And now what he is probably trying to say to us is what, according to St Luke (Acts 1:11), the Angels said to the disciples just after the Ascension: why are you standing around here, hanging about here, looking up into the sky, into heaven, star gazing? Kyran would surely want us to do as the disciples did in response to those reprimanding words of the Angels after Jesus left them; he would want us after the funeral to go back home full of joy, our hearts burning within us, to praise God and to be witnesses to the resurrection in our daily lives.
Michael Hurley, SJ
◆ The Clongownian, 1997
Father Kyran Fitzgerald SJ
Kyran Fitzgerald was born in Waterford in 1922 and came to Clongowes after attending Waterpark. His Jesuit studies, on which he entered immediately after school followed the then standard course of novitiate at Emo, university studies at Rathfarnham Castle, philosophy at Tullabeg, regency and theology at Milltown Park, ending with tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle. Kyran's regency consisted in a three-year teaching stint as a scholastic in his old school, 1948-51.
Following ordination in 1954, he returned here to teach for another five years, 1956-61. He taught at Mungret until 1968 and then studied psychology at UCD, where he had taken his Arts degree, to prepare himself for the work of career guidance to which he devoted the next fifteen years of his life, first in Galway for a year and then in Gonzaga. After a sabbatical year, he spent the last years of his active ministry as chaplain to a nursing home and helping in various capacities in the community.
By 1991, Parkinson's Disease, the ravages of which he bore with remarkable patience and courage, made it impossible for him to continue working. He died in the Jesuit infirmary at Cherryfield on May 7 1997.
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Material relating to Kyran Fitzgerald's admission to the Society; his final illness and some subsequent correspondence with Irish Fr Provincials.
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- Fitzgerald, Kyran J, 1922-1997, Jesuit priest (Subject)
- Kieran, Laurence J, 1881-1945, Jesuit priest (Subject)
- MacMahon, John R, 1893-1989, Jesuit priest (Subject)
- McGarry, Cecil, 1929-2009, Jesuit priest (Subject)
- Timoney, Senan P, 1927-2013, Jesuit priest (Subject)
- Harnett, Philip, 1943-1996, Jesuit priest (Subject)
- Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin, 1950- (Subject)
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