O’Leary, Rev Patrick Joseph
REV. PATRICK JOSEPH O’LEARY
May 5, 1951
- Date of Birth: 12 July 1884
- Place of Birth in Ireland: Dromena, Charleville
- County: Cork
- Education: St Patrick, Carlow; Oscott College, Birmingham, England; Kenrick Seminary, St Louis, MO
- Date of Ordination: 28 April 1911
- Place of Ordination: St Francis Church, St Paul, Kansas
- Ordained by: Bishop John Hennessey
- Assistant – St Patrick, Parsons – 5/1/1911 to 7/27/1913
- Pastor – Immaculate Conception, West Mineral – 7/27/1913 to 9/3/1936
- Pastor – Sacred Heart, Weir – 9/17/1922 to 9/4/1936
- Pastor – St Bridget, Scammon – 9/17/1922 to 9/4/1936
- Pastor – St Patrick, Kingman – 9/10/1936 to 7/15/1950
- Retired in June, 1950
The ordination of Father O’Leary took place in St Paul, Kansas because Bishop Hennessey was also there to elevate four men, who belonged to the Order of Passionists located in St Paul, to the level of deaconship.
Following the death of Father Sullivan, Father O’Leary’s pastoral assignment was enlarged to take in St Bridget in Scammon in addition to Sacred Heart in Weir. Having taken the helm in Scammon, Father began to address the long neglected work needed at the church and parish house. His first project was to paint and repair the parish house and paint the tower of the church. He next tackled having the basement dug out and installed a modern furnace, which required having a new flue built and a large fan installed in the basement to circulate the warm air. All of these repairs and replacements were ready to go by winter 1923.
The parishioners were thrilled with the work that Fr O’Leary was having done. In 1924 he continued with the outside by having fresco work done, copper guttering added to the house and church, and the addition of trees, shrubbery and flowers. Several parishioners said that all of this work will make St Bridget’s the most beautiful church in that part of the country!
Father O’Leary planned a third visit to Ireland since his ordination in 1911. He went to Ireland in 1924 and 1935 but was looking forward to his third trip to County Cork in 1948.
Father O’Leary, who made his first airplane trip back to Ireland in 1948 was eager to visit the old homestead which was more than 300 years old. In describing his trip to others, Father said “…I am most eager to set foot in the house where I was born and was built way back in the days when the priests in Ireland were being hounded like dogs by Cromwell and the Irish people were grimly fighting for their holy faith, whilst the rest of the civilized world was going mad to get at the gold that everybody said was to be had for the asking in the New World.” Reportedly 12 generations of O’Learys had been born and reared in that home.
Bishop Mark K. Carroll was informed about the death of Father O’Leary by cablegram. He was told that Father died in Charleville, the townland where he was born. The cablegram gave no particulars about the cause of death but it was surmised that he died suddenly and unexpectedly. In a letter he wrote to a brother priest, also of the Diocese of Wichita, he reported that his health was good and that he was planning to build a little home in Charleville.
- Date of Death: 5 May 1951
- Place of Death: At his nephew’s house in Dromina, Co Cork
- Age of Death: 66
- Funeral Celebrant: Rev. M. Ryann, C.C.
- Burial: Newtownshandrum Church Cemetery, Charleville, County Cork, Ireland