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Fr. Larry dies quietly in Ireland

 

Fr. Larry after his last Mass in Montserrat, saying his goodbyes

Fr. Larry after his last Mass in Montserrat, saying his goodbyes

by Bennette Roach

Fr. George Agger, Roman Catholic Parish priest of St. Patrick’s Parish church, Montserrat announced and described on Monday morning, Father Larry’s passing as ‘a tremendous loss’. This is manifested not only by the Catholic community here but the entire Montserrat Community as they mourn the loss of Father Lawrence Finnegan known to many as just ‘Father Larry’.

Father Larry Finnegan died at Roscommon hospital in Ireland on Sunday, (May 31) at the age of seventy eight (78). The Catholic Priest served on Montserrat from 1993 to 2000 and retired from active ministry in 2009.

Fr. Larry who was awarded the OBE and the Montserrat badge of honour is remembered this way by one parishioner who was very active in the music ministry, and continues to be in the UK:

Cecil wrote from the UK this memory which many, if not every parishioner from Montserrat would share.

“There are times in life when we come across someone who help us in the journey of life, in this case spiritual life.
“We always hear this saying, “You were in the right place at the right time.” Here is a man and let me rephrase that, “A man of God,” who was in the right place at the right time. Farher Larry as he was affectionately known has past yesterday. He was suffering for some time with pancreatic cancer. This blessed man was on Montserrat during the peak of the volcano crisis.

“Many of us remember what those days were like. Everyone south of Isle’s Bay Hill had to evacuate to the northern side of the river. Father Larry being a man of God moved into the Salem Catholic Church (St. Martin de Porres) shelter with his people. This man was offered over and over villas, hotel rooms and other accommodations You name it, these accommodations were offered by people who thought that he should not live in an emergency shelter with ordinary people. His simple reply was, “My place is with my people.” What a humble man.

“Farher Larry lived every bit of that time like everyone else in that shelter. He lined up like them for meals and other handouts, he slept on the benches like everyone else. He participated in every aspect of life in the shelter. Some of my greatest memories were, seeing him either playing with children or sitting down with a baby fast asleep in his lap. Humble, God-sent, right place at the right time, God blessed and I can go on and on but I know there are others who would like to also share something about this, “Man of God.”

“May his soul rest in peace!”

Fr. Larry Finnegan - preaching at last Mass in Montserrat

Fr. Larry Finnegan – preaching at last Mass in Montserrat

“Someone texted me last night when I sent out the information about his death and suggested that we attend the funeral in Ireland and I think that is a brilliant idea. If we can coordinate ourselves and represent the Catholic Church of Montserrat as a group, count me in.”

Fr. George said immediately upon his announcement of Fr. Larry’s death. “He was a man of very strong faith, a very practical person, he was a very down to earth person and a person full of love in his own life and I think he mastered his call to his life and to the life of everyone he touched especially here on Montserrat during the crisis.”

He explained this man of humility’s last days. “He had no pain, he was comfortable, he was at peace with himself, he was a peace with his illness, he was at peace with God. Once he knew he had cancer he said no, I will not have any invasive procedures, I will go for alternative care and I’m ready to meet my God. What more blessing could you ask for?”

Father George speaks a bit further about Fr. Larry’s time on Montserrat. “He was here from 1993 and the volcano begin just a couple years after that, he was determined to stay on here … he had to move out of Plymouth like everybody else. He lived in the St. Martin’s church like everybody else with 60 of 70 other people. So he lived with the people who were evacuated he wanted to be share their lives and he wanted to share the condition of the evacuees.”

Fr. George felt that was one of the greatest highlights. “And then of course St. Augustine School had been destroyed with the volcanic activity and he purchased that house in Palm Loop – the fact that the school opened up on time on schedule in September while all the other schools remained closed,” he added.

Part of his congregation gathered to pose with Fr Larry for a last time

Part of his congregation gathered to pose with Fr Larry for a last time

Fr. Larry was buried on Wednesday, much sooner than most Montserratians would think of today, but as Fr. George noted this is pretty much the custom in Ireland. He had said on Monday, this was likely to happen. Fr. George announced on Thursday that a memorial service will held at the parish church in Lookout at 5.00 p.m. Everyone is invited to participate in the service mass where registered select persons will speak of their memories of Fr. Larry.

In 2000 TMR on Fr. Larry’s departure from Montserrat wrote: “Parishioners often become fond of their priests, but in Father Larry’s case even the most jaded observer could understand why his departure leaves some people with an empty feeling. He was the spiritual shepherd who guided the population of Montserrat through some of the darkest days in the island’s history.

Father Larry’s first sight of the island was in the 1970’s, when he stayed here for some months. Returning in 1993, upon his departure, he sai

“They are a people of faith,” he said of Montserratians, describing how one elderly woman surprised him with her unquestioning respect for God…

Father Larry recalled how, at the height of the crisis, overworked clergymen of all denominations would gather and pray together, in an effort to find enough strength to keep doing their duty even in moments when it might have seemed futile. He said Montserrat brought him closer than ever before to a wider variety of other theological doctrines.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

 

Fr. Larry after his last Mass in Montserrat, saying his goodbyes

Fr. Larry after his last Mass in Montserrat, saying his goodbyes

by Bennette Roach

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Fr. George Agger, Roman Catholic Parish priest of St. Patrick’s Parish church, Montserrat announced and described on Monday morning, Father Larry’s passing as ‘a tremendous loss’. This is manifested not only by the Catholic community here but the entire Montserrat Community as they mourn the loss of Father Lawrence Finnegan known to many as just ‘Father Larry’.

Father Larry Finnegan died at Roscommon hospital in Ireland on Sunday, (May 31) at the age of seventy eight (78). The Catholic Priest served on Montserrat from 1993 to 2000 and retired from active ministry in 2009.

Fr. Larry who was awarded the OBE and the Montserrat badge of honour is remembered this way by one parishioner who was very active in the music ministry, and continues to be in the UK:

Cecil wrote from the UK this memory which many, if not every parishioner from Montserrat would share.

“There are times in life when we come across someone who help us in the journey of life, in this case spiritual life.
“We always hear this saying, “You were in the right place at the right time.” Here is a man and let me rephrase that, “A man of God,” who was in the right place at the right time. Farher Larry as he was affectionately known has past yesterday. He was suffering for some time with pancreatic cancer. This blessed man was on Montserrat during the peak of the volcano crisis.

“Many of us remember what those days were like. Everyone south of Isle’s Bay Hill had to evacuate to the northern side of the river. Father Larry being a man of God moved into the Salem Catholic Church (St. Martin de Porres) shelter with his people. This man was offered over and over villas, hotel rooms and other accommodations You name it, these accommodations were offered by people who thought that he should not live in an emergency shelter with ordinary people. His simple reply was, “My place is with my people.” What a humble man.

“Farher Larry lived every bit of that time like everyone else in that shelter. He lined up like them for meals and other handouts, he slept on the benches like everyone else. He participated in every aspect of life in the shelter. Some of my greatest memories were, seeing him either playing with children or sitting down with a baby fast asleep in his lap. Humble, God-sent, right place at the right time, God blessed and I can go on and on but I know there are others who would like to also share something about this, “Man of God.”

“May his soul rest in peace!”

Fr. Larry Finnegan - preaching at last Mass in Montserrat

Fr. Larry Finnegan – preaching at last Mass in Montserrat

“Someone texted me last night when I sent out the information about his death and suggested that we attend the funeral in Ireland and I think that is a brilliant idea. If we can coordinate ourselves and represent the Catholic Church of Montserrat as a group, count me in.”

Fr. George said immediately upon his announcement of Fr. Larry’s death. “He was a man of very strong faith, a very practical person, he was a very down to earth person and a person full of love in his own life and I think he mastered his call to his life and to the life of everyone he touched especially here on Montserrat during the crisis.”

He explained this man of humility’s last days. “He had no pain, he was comfortable, he was at peace with himself, he was a peace with his illness, he was at peace with God. Once he knew he had cancer he said no, I will not have any invasive procedures, I will go for alternative care and I’m ready to meet my God. What more blessing could you ask for?”

Father George speaks a bit further about Fr. Larry’s time on Montserrat. “He was here from 1993 and the volcano begin just a couple years after that, he was determined to stay on here … he had to move out of Plymouth like everybody else. He lived in the St. Martin’s church like everybody else with 60 of 70 other people. So he lived with the people who were evacuated he wanted to be share their lives and he wanted to share the condition of the evacuees.”

Fr. George felt that was one of the greatest highlights. “And then of course St. Augustine School had been destroyed with the volcanic activity and he purchased that house in Palm Loop – the fact that the school opened up on time on schedule in September while all the other schools remained closed,” he added.

Part of his congregation gathered to pose with Fr Larry for a last time

Part of his congregation gathered to pose with Fr Larry for a last time

Fr. Larry was buried on Wednesday, much sooner than most Montserratians would think of today, but as Fr. George noted this is pretty much the custom in Ireland. He had said on Monday, this was likely to happen. Fr. George announced on Thursday that a memorial service will held at the parish church in Lookout at 5.00 p.m. Everyone is invited to participate in the service mass where registered select persons will speak of their memories of Fr. Larry.

In 2000 TMR on Fr. Larry’s departure from Montserrat wrote: “Parishioners often become fond of their priests, but in Father Larry’s case even the most jaded observer could understand why his departure leaves some people with an empty feeling. He was the spiritual shepherd who guided the population of Montserrat through some of the darkest days in the island’s history.

Father Larry’s first sight of the island was in the 1970’s, when he stayed here for some months. Returning in 1993, upon his departure, he sai

“They are a people of faith,” he said of Montserratians, describing how one elderly woman surprised him with her unquestioning respect for God…

Father Larry recalled how, at the height of the crisis, overworked clergymen of all denominations would gather and pray together, in an effort to find enough strength to keep doing their duty even in moments when it might have seemed futile. He said Montserrat brought him closer than ever before to a wider variety of other theological doctrines.