Fr John Sugrue
Rev John Sugrue 1937-2012
It was with great sadness that our Parish Commuity received the news of the death of Fr. John Sugrue. As we prpared to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our Church we heard also that 2012 is the Golden Jubliee of Fr. John's ordination and we discussed plans to include him in our celebrations even hoping that, his health permitting he would be able to be with us during that week also. Sadly this was not to be and he is now interred in High Street Cemetery beside the Church of Ss Patrick & Saran not a stone's throw from his Family Home.
He was a link for us between the old church (now a Community Centre) as he said the last Mass there, to the Church now being celebrated in which he said some of his first Masses. There was much talk of his well remembered yearly visits home - the altar boys remembering well the dollar coins they always received after they had served Mass over the days of his many visits.
We thank God for his life and his long ministry. We offer our sincere sympathies to his Family and friends and to and to all those who will miss his presence.
At our request, we had asked his family to write his life story for us as we wanted to include and acknowledge him and others who have contributed in a special way to the lives of the members of our Parish Community.
Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh a anam dilís.
Rev John Sugrue 1937-2012
Ordained the 10th of June 1962
Fr John Sugrue was a native of High St., Belmont. He attended the old High St. National School where his mother, the late Josephine Sugrue was a teacher. During his youth he spent many happy evenings playing football and hurling at the local Moystown G.A.A. Field. He was the proud owner of a hurling medal won with Belmont club. After primary school he was a boarder at Garbally College, Ballinasloe. He continued his love of sport and played rugby with Garbally senior team. After completing his education he studied for the priesthood in St. Patrick’s College, Thurles, Co. Tipperary where he was ordained on the 10th June 1962. He was ordained by Most Rev. Doctor Thomas Morris D.D. Shortly after his ordination while home in High St., he celebrated the last mass in the old church in High St., which is now the Community Centre. That summer before he left for the U.S.A. he had the opportunity to celebrate mass in the new St. Patrick and St. Saran’s Church.
Fr John was ordained for the Camden diocese, New Jersey and he set sail from Cobh on the Mauretania in August of 1962 with many of his classmates from Thurles, who remained life long friends. On reaching New York, he was met by Monsignor P J Temple who hailed from Shannonharbour. The monsignor, who preached at the opening ceremony of the St. Patrick and St. Saran’s Church, was a cousin of the late Seamus Kenny, the shop, High St., Belmont.
Fr John’s first appointment was to The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Bridgeton as an associate pastor. From 1966 to 1972 he went to St. Peter’s Church, Pleasantville, New Jersey. During this time he was also on the faculty at Holy Spirit High School where he taught religion. Following this he served as pastor of St Ann’s in Elmer and most recently at St. Vincent de Paul Church, Mays Landing, New Jersey. He spent over thirty years as pastor there administering to the parishioners. The parish consisted of two churches and the local Catholic schools. He retired as pastor from St. Vincent de Paul parish in 2008 due to ill health and was sadly missed by his parishioners.
High St. Church had always held a very special place in his heart. On his annual visits home during his summer vacations he regularly said daily mass in St. Patrick’s and St. Saran’s church and often celebrated Sunday mass to assist the local priests of this parish.
Two of his fondest memories of High St. Church were when he returned in 1976 when Boora Church was officially opened and when Cardinal Coady visited the three churches of this parish High St., Ferbane and Boora for the dedication ceremony. Another very special memory of St Patrick and St. Saran’s was the celebration of his Silver Jubilee in 1987. Fr John sincerely appreciated all the efforts of the priests and parishioners of High St who made this a wonderful day.
Fr John passed away unexpectedly on the 2nd of March 2012 after suffering from poor health for sometime. Visitation for Fr John was held at St Vincent de Paul Church, Mays Landing, on Wednesday the 7th of March where the Mass of Jesus Christ the High Priest was celebrated at 7 pm and Fr John Killeen, a native of Shannonbridge gave the homily. On Thursday the 8th of March 2012 seventeen priests from the Camden diocese concelebrated mass of Christian Burial where on this occasion Monsignor William Quinn gave the homily. Both Fr Killeen and Monsignor Quinn worked in the Camden diocese and knew Fr John for several years.
Fr John’s wish was always to be laid to rest in the family plot in St Patrick and St Saran’s cemetery. Fr John’s remains were flown to Ireland on Saturday the 10th of March to his family home and later removed to St Patrick and St Saran’s church. Bishop John Kirby, Fr John’s classmate at Garbally College, preached the homily. On Sunday the 11th March concelebrated mass was celebrated by Fr Frankie Murray, Ferbane, Fr John Naughton, Clonfert and Fr Michael Scanlon, Cloghan and Fr Tom Cox and on this occasion Fr John Naughton preached the homily.
Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anan dílis
“Dream your dream in us, O Lord,
that in this place we call Church
your reign will take shape
and your people will be transformed by joy. (M.Farrell)