Fr. Paddy a 'proud Derry man' and dedicated Missionary to Ecuadorian poor

Fr. Paddy McIntyre was remembered at his Requiem Mass as a 'proud Derry man' and dedicated Missionary who spent three decades bringing 'life, love and dignity' to the poor communities of the high Andes in Ecuador.

Fr. Paul Farren described Fr. McIntyre as a selfless individual who had a total commitment to building the church in the Ecuadorian mountains after he moved to South America in 1984.

"Paddy had no self interest whatsoever," Fr. Farren observed in his homily at his funeral service in St. Eugene's Cathedral, where Fr. Paddy ministered for nine years after returning to Ireland. "He was so determined. Some would say stubborn; everybody would say stubborn.

"I know in Ecuador there were no feasibility studies or box-ticking. Paddy was simply bringing the good news to the poor and this was his lifelong vocation and passion. He was completely committed to those who were poor.

The late Fr. Paddy McIntyre.

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"He gave them life. He gave them love. He gave them dignity. He gave them hope and a future and he gave them Jesus.

"When Paddy was in Ecuador nothing held him back. He just charged on and built up the church and I believe he built it on land that he didn't even own."

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Tributes paid to Fr. Paddy McIntyre

Fr. Farren described his former colleague and mentor who passed away in the Foyle Hospice after a period of illness on Sunday as someone who brought the same commitment to all the parishes and dioceses he served throughout his life.

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The late Fr. Paddy McIntyre.

"Paddy was completely committed to the people he was called to serve, whether in Salford in the parishes and in St. Patrick's Secondary School, in Ecuador, and here in his last years.

"He said to me on one of my last visits to him in the hospice, 'Paul if I could crawl to the altar in the Cathedral and celebrate Mass again I would do it'."

Mourners heard how he had been a great support to and role model for priests locally. He was also immensely proud of his extended family and of his roots in Buncrana whence his late parents Charles and Anne hailed.

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"Most of all he was so proud to be Derry man and better than that, and more important than that, he was so proud to be a Rosemount man, because there was Rosemount and then there was everywhere else," Fr. Farren said.

He was, he added 'truly the wise grandfather of this parish and we needed him and we need him and we miss him desperately'.

Bishop Dónal McKeown also spoke of his determination.

"He spent more than half of his priestly life [in Ecuador] supported by wonderful local communities and by many great people from Derry, Manchester and other places. Good people build in hope, trusting that good will come from it, and even when projects fail, if they have been done in love and with generosity, graced goodness will always bear fruit.

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"In his own tireless and uncomplicated way back in Derry he encouraged all of us to minister in their pain and their need.

"Now he wasn't a softie. He expected much from himself and challenged people to be generous in doing good and in being better," said Bishop McKeown.