Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande

 mcglinchey  Le Père Michael McGLINCHEY
né le 20 novembre 1929
dans le diocèse de Derry (Irlande)
membre de la SMA 2 juillet 1952
prêtre le 13 juin 1956
décédé le 11 décembre 2004

1956-1986 missionnaire dans le diocèse de Benin City
1986-1988 Maynooth, économe
1988-1989 Wilton Cork, prêtre assistant
1989-1996 missionnaire dans le diocèse de Warri
1996-1997 Nigeria, maison sma, Ibadan
1997-2004 Dromantine, retiré

décédé le 11 décembre 2004 à Dromantine (Irlande,
à l’âge de 75 ans

Father Michael Joseph McGLINCHEY (1929 2004)

Michael J. McGlinchey was born in Doorat, Donemanna, Co Tyrone, in the parish of Donaheady, in the diocese of Derry, on 20 November 1929.
He died in the SMA house at Dromantine, Newry, Co Down, on 11 December 2004.

Michael (Mick) came from a farming background. His parents were Charles and Minnie (nee Devine). He received his secondary schooling with the Christian Brothers in Derry (1944-48), cycling daily the substantial journey to and from the school. A love of cycling, which was to stay with him throughout his life, developed from this period. Leaving school at the end of his fourth year he worked on the family farm for the next two years. Then, feeling called to the missionary priesthood, he applied to the Society and was accepted. Michael did some preparatory studies in the Society’s Sacred Heart College, Ballinafad, Co Mayo and at St. Joseph’s College, Wilton, before entering the novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in the autumn of 1950. Two years later he was promoted to the Society’s major seminary at Dromantine. Michael was first admitted as a member of the Society on 2nd July 1952 and became a permanent member on 13th June 1955. He was ordained a priest on 13th June 1956, in St. Colman’s cathedral, Newry, by Bishop Eugene O’Doherty of Dromore diocese. He was one of a group of thirteen ordained on that day.

Four months after his ordination Michael set out for the diocese of Benin City in mid-Western Nigeria. He was to serve continuously in this diocese until June 1986, in all doing twelve tours of duty. He was then appointed House Bursar in the SMA house of Studies, at Maynooth. Preferring the pastoral ministry to seminary life, Michael found it difficult to settle into Maynooth and after two years his superiors transferred him to the SMA parish at Wilton, Cork, where he served as an assistant to the parish priest. However, anxious to return to Africa, his wish was granted in December 1989 when he took up a post in Warri diocese. He was to serve a further five tours in Warri diocese, before going to assist in the SMA Regional house, at Challenge, Ibadan in November 1996. Michael left Africa for the final time in August 1997 and retired from the active ministry soon after, taking up residence in Dromantine.

Michael was to spend most of his missionary life in the pastoral ministry, serving in many of the parishes of Benin City diocese and, later, in those of Warri diocese. His first posting, given to him by Bishop Patrick J. Kelly, was to Agbor mission. He was then posted to Warri where he ministered with Joe Styles. From 1958 he served with Bob O’Regan in Ughelli mission, returning to Agbor a year later where he was joined by Con O’Driscoll. As well as ministering in the parish Michael was entrusted with responsibility for ‘Catholic Action’ in the diocese. In the early 1980’s he served as Chaplain and Welfare Officer at the Ossiomo Leper Settlement. In 1985 he was pastor at Holy Cross Church, Benin City. At the time of his appointment to Maynooth he was stationed at Immaculate Conception Church, Ugo, Bendel State. For a period, too, he served as diocesan inspector, a particularly difficult undertaking as it meant travelling throughout the diocese with Bishop Patrick J. Kelly on marathon Confirmation tours, during which the bishop would personally examine thousands of candidates. Michael’s placid, good-humoured temperament, served him well on such occasions.

On his return to Nigeria in 1989 Michael served briefly in the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Warri, before being posted to the parish of Obiaruku. During the 1990’s he was stationed at St. Michael’s Church, Umutu. Michael was renowned as a builder of churches, schools and health clinics. But he was also esteemed as a builder of Christian communities in many places. Michael had a great love and compassion for the poor. On receipt of a grant of £1000 for the poor of Umutu parish he described to the Irish Provincial how the money would be spent. ‘On my own behalf and on behalf of the poor, the hungry and the down-and-outs in Umutu parish I extend sincere thanks for the very generous grant. We have a home (“Mother Theresa’s Home”) for the poor already arranged and already two are in residence there. Some twelve are given food on a regular basis. The recent grant helps the Christian women of the parish to run the Home and buy the necessary food.’ Umutu, an isolated parish where he lived alone, was a difficult assignment for a man nearing his 70’s, but Michael approached his work with characteristic generosity. Eventually his health began to suffer and caused him to be invalided home, first to hospital at the Bon Secours, in Cork, and finally to Dromantine, his place of retirement.

Michael loved to cycle. As already mentioned, he had travelled daily to and from school in Derry as a youngster. In Africa too he always kept a bicycle nearby. During his time in Maynooth and Wilton, although by no means a young man, he enjoyed frequent excursions, some of considerable distance. It was a fall from a bicycle in 1997 which hastened his retirement. Yet during the twilight years of his life, he continued to cycle whenever he felt up to it.

Michael died unexpectedly on the evening of Saturday, 11th December in Dromantine. Concelebrated Mass on Monday 13th December for the repose of his soul was followed by his removal to his home at Doorat, Donemana. His requiem Mass was celebrated in St. Mary’s Church, Aughabrack on the following day.

He is buried in the cemetery adjoining St. Mary’s Church, Aughabrack, Co Tyrone.