Fr Declan Deane, a former lecturer and student at the Irish School of Ecumenics, passed away this week of cancer. Fr Deane was serving at Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill, California.
A native of Dublin, he grew up on Achill Island and was ordained a Jesuit in 1972. He was one of the first students to enrol on the Irish School of Ecumenics’ programme in Dublin. During the 1980s he lived as a Jesuit in Portadown and taught on the Irish School of Ecumenics’ Adult Education course in Northern Ireland.
Fr Deane immigrated to the US in 1992 and worked in five parishes before his death. A memorial on the Christ the King webpage describes him this way:
Despite his struggle with esophageal cancer, despite his being first on chemo and then a seven month hospice patient, Declan steadily did more and more rather than less and less. He continued to take his turn at weekly confessions; he returned to weekday masses especially with our school children, including the classroom preparation that went with that. Just a few short days before his death, he preached at all six weekend masses, concelebrated three and was outside greeting and visiting with parishioners for all the masses. To that he added the Monday morning mass and two days with visits to school and classrooms. To those who advised him to slow down and do less, his response was , “that is the way I want to be remembered” and “when I promise I’m going to do something and be somewhere, I always do it”.
I never met Fr Deane. But I can appreciate the energy and dedication that he must have exhibited in helping to get the ISE’s Northern Irish work off the ground. He is remembered fondly by many colleagues and former students.