Fr Michael Lally, SVD

Farewell to Mayo priest Fr Mick The death took place early in the morning of February 22 of Fr Michael Lally, son of the late Tom and Ellen Lally, of Barnakillew, Partry. He was the fourth of five children. In September 1969 he joined the SVD in Donamon where he did his novitiate.

Having previously studied philosophy in Maynooth as a student of the Archdiocese of Tuam, he returned there in 1970 to complete his studies in Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1973 and applied to work first in Ireland and later Papia New Guinea. In 1975 Sing Ying secondary school in Hong Kong was looking for a teacher and Michael consented to the request to have his appointment to Papua New Guinea changed. He took Postgraduate studies in Education in Twickenham before leaving for Hong Kong in 1976.

Fr Lally returned to the Irish Province in 1980 and took up pastoral work in England in 1982. He was then transferred to the British Province and took a counselling post in Stroud for some time before moving to parish work. He served in the Provincial Council of the British Province and worked as Irish Chaplain to Immigrants up to the time of his return to Ireland in 1996.

From that time he worked and lived in the West of Ireland in the Archdiocese of Tuam. He was ill for a short period before dying in the home of his sister Judy in Belcarra. He is survived by his brothers Tom and Jimmy and sisters Judy and Mary, nieces and nephews and friends. His remains were removed to Ballintubber Abbey on Wednesday evening last and burial took place in the adjoining cemetery.

The funeral Mass was celebrated by Fr Sean Maughan a colleague with whom Fr Lally served for many years in Willesden, London. In his homily Fr Maughan described Fr Lally as a "true ambassador for Christ" who most endearing traits were his qualities of love, patience, understanding, his easy rapport with young and old alike and his great sense of fun and humour. Among the many clergy who concelebrated the Mass were Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, Fr Finbarr Treacy, SVD and Fr Frank Fahy, PP Ballintubber.

A noted footballer, Fr Lally won an all Ireland all an Ireland colleges medals with St Jarlaths and Under 21 All Ireland honours with Mayo. His coffin draped in the colours of the Ballintubber club was borne from the abbey to his final resting place by members of the club, Mayo GAA Board, colleagues and community neighbours and friends. Courtesy of the Western People, March, 2003.