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BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST


Praying and Working for the Ordination of Women in the Roman Catholic Church


Fr Michael Keane

1925 - 2011

The Cupid priest; The Rebel priest; A Christian prophet for Ireland

On Tuesday the 30th of August 2011 I attended the funeral mass for Fr Michael Keane in St Colman's church, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. The church was filled by hundreds of his parishioners, family and friends along with Archbishop Michael Neary, 2 bishops, 46 robed priests and 4 altar girls. Fr Peter Gannon presided and recalled the support he had received from Fr Michael Keane, especially with his Parish Priest on extended sick leave.

Archbishop Michael Neary referred to Fr Michael Keane as being strong-willed and passionate about various issues - when it came to ecclesiastical authority and dealing with various Church leaders Fr. Michael had a colourful and sometimes fraught series of relationships with more than one Archbishop! …… A Man of Principle and Champion of the Under-dog?……Courteous, Good-humoured, Appreciative and Generous……He was also extremely generous in donating to diocesan charity causes. Yet the Archbishop made no mention of what went on during the 29 years that Fr Michael Keane spent in Dublin:

After the mass in St Coleman's Fr Michael Keane's nephew James Keane spoke about Fr Michael Keane who was born in Claremorris in 1925; he was his grandmothers pet; he started school at the age of 3 and was a great academic, though not good at figures; after his ordination in1950 he anointed a sick woman and told her relatives not to remove her socks as it would discomfort her - but 2 days later the same woman demanded he return and do the job properly! - Michael vowed to do everything properly from that day on! Fr Michael always tried to be objective, fair and inclusive; he founded the Knock marriage Bureau in 1968 and since then it has arranged over 900 marriages; he was known as the "Cupid Priest" and also as the "Rebel priest"; his many nieces & nephews knew he was always good for a 10 shilling note; the Keane household was like a debating society; he was very opinionated on many topics, though he never understood the price of cattle; his loyal housekeeper Molly Flaherty's only sin was spoiling Fr Michael; he supported LEAVEN and BASIC; when Fr Michael meets God he can look him in the eye and say "I did what I could" - and hopefully God will have his answer ready; a special word of thanks to Tom & Norma Keane who looked after Fr Michael on his return to Claremorris; Two roads diverged, and Fr Michael took the road less travelled.

Fr Michael Keane was buried in Ballinasmalla cemetery in the same grave as his parents Thomas & Margaret Kean (Fr Michael Keane added the "E" to his parent's name.

May he rest in peace

Colm Holmes


A Christian Prophet for Ireland

Fr Michael Keane 1925 - 2011

Out west in Tully Cross and Cashel
Father Michael served 10 years
To let the people do the leading
But this was not the bishop's way.

He set up councils and committees
To debate the parish future
To hear the Spirit speak through them
But this was not the bishop's way.

Banished from his Connemara
He was sent to Dublin city
Still he listened door to door
But this was not the bishop's way.

And so his PP did report him
To the Archbishop Michael knew
Who did suspend him from his duties
This was now the bishop's way.

To the courts the archbishop went
The Sheriff to evict our Michael
And leave his goods out on the pavement
This was now the bishop's way.

But Fr Michael kept his spirit
He worked with Leaven's married priests
As well as BASIC's women priests
But this was not the bishop's way.

A marriage bureau he set up
Out west in Knock to match the pairs
Year in year out it rang the bells
But this was not the bishop's way.

The Jubilee year was now at hand
A woman strong fought Michael's case
23 years with no pay endured
At long last he was reinstated.

He saw Christ's spirit in the laity
And in the married priests he knew
As well as with the women priests
Christ's footsteps he did follow truly.

C.H.


Maintained by Diarmuid UaConaill / duacon@iol.ie - Last update 1 Sep 2011.

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