BY MARTIN WALSH
THERE’S been an outpouring of grief throughout West Cork after the death this week of the much-loved Fr Eddie Collins.
Fr Collins made an impact on many communities, at home and abroad, including Clonakilty, where he served most recently.
A native of Barryroe parish, after post-graduate studies in Rome, he served as curate at The Cathedral parish, Castlehaven, and Dunmanway, and served on the Diocesan Mission to Peru from 1981 to 1987.
He then became curate in Kilmurry and then in Enniskeane parish, until he moved to Clonakilty in 1999 where he served as curate until his death. The Clonakilty Sports Complex closed as a sign of a respect to Fr Collins, who was a member of the committee there for 18 years.
His death follows the recent loss of Fr Peter Queally CSSp, whose requiem mass in his beloved Courtmacsherry on Friday last was celebrated by Bishop Fintan Gavin in the presence of about 40 priests. In a homily delivered by Fr Jack McGrath, a Holy Ghost father, a packed congregation was told of the impact of Fr Peter’s work in Sierra Leone, where he came to the attention of not one, but two, presidents.
Although his work as a spiritan serving in Sierra Leone formed the major part of his ministry, Fr Peter always held Courtmacsherry, and in particular Meelmane, close to his heart, along with Oileán Chléire. Bishop Fintan told the congregation; ‘It was from his parents and the faith community here in this parish that his faith was nourished, a faith that brought him on to be a missionary, a spiritan, serving for many years in Sierra Leone and later living in Rockwell College and serving there and serving the faith community in Oileán Cléire.’
In his homily, Fr McGrath said that Fr Peter never lost his love for Courtmacsherry.
‘He had great friends and was the most talked about spiritan in the Irish province. It is a great tribute to him and the way he impacted on us and people, wherever he met them,’ Fr McGrath told the large gathering.