Capuchin Fr Cronan Fahey, who died in Ireland in September, spent his entire priestly career in New Zealand. He had an interest in this country from childhood: an aunt had come from Ireland in 1919 as a new bride.
Fr Cronan was born 20 years later, on 9 May 1939, in Dublin, at the younger end of a large family. The idea of training for the priesthood came to him in his mid-teens. He later studied with the Capuchins and was ordained on 13 June 1969. He was appointed to Wellington, where he remained until being transferred to the Henderson community in 1976. Later he served in both the South Island Capuchin houses, in Dunedin and Christchurch. At various times he was a missioner, parish priest and director of students. He was to return to the Wellington community for his last years in New Zealand.
Uncompromising in his Christian beliefs and his loyalty to the ‘precious and unique’ values of St Francis, Fr Cronan loved conducting parish missions most of all. This ministry took him all over New Zealand. Like many Irishmen, he had an impressive gift for language and storytelling. He also enjoyed seeking out new sources of Christian music and introducing them to congregations where he was ministering. A kind, modest man, he made friends young and old wherever he went.
Fr Cronan had a close and loving bond with his mother. He delighted in telling how, in her extreme old age, though no longer able to see his approach, she always recognised his footsteps and was ready to welcome him on furloughs in Ireland. After being diagnosed with cancer early this year, he chose to return home to spend his last months with his family.
He is greatly missed by all who knew him, and especially by his fellow friars, to whom he was always a loyal and supportive brother and friend.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’