Fr. Dermot Patrick was regularly seen walking slowly around the grounds of Mount Argus deep in thought and taking in every aspect of this beautiful church and monastery that he knew and loved so well. He was for many years the maintenance guru because he knew the place so intimately inside and out. It was here he died after a long illness in the early hours of Wednesday 22nd June 2005. He was 73 years of age and had been ordained for nearly fifty years.
Born Dermot Cleary July 5th 1931 in Lisson, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh he entered the Passionists Congregation and was Professed October 23rd 1950 in St Gabriel's Retreat, The Graan, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. After his priestly studies in St. Joseph's Retreat, Cloonamahon and St. Paul's Retreat, Mount Argus he was ordained May 26th 1956. His early ministry was on the Passionists Parish Mission Staff and continued in that ministry for over twenty years. In 1982 he became the "Foreign Mission Procurator" with responsibility for collecting funds for the Passionist Work in Botswana and South Africa. In 1992 - 2002 he was chaplain to An Garda Siochana and attached to Mount Argus.
Dermot Patrick loved the company of good friends and indeed he had a capacity to make very good friends. He made good friends wherever he would be based in various parts of Ireland, north and south, but also in Scotland. People from PAM from his time as Foreign Mission Secretary will talk of the good fun that was had along side the very hard fund-raising work they were involved in. The good fun especially at the games of cards and on weekends away. Great friendships have lasted and indeed developed from that time. I imagine Our Lady's Grotto, the beautiful upkeep of which is a direct result of such friendships, which he loved to tend with Margaret and Linda and just walk down and say a prayer, will now take on the added dimension of a memorial to Dermot himself.
Dermot Patrick left PAM in 1992 to begin a 10-year stint as Garda Chaplain, a task to which he warmed and gave his all. I have heard stories of not to be forgotten sermons Dermot Patrick preached at major Garda events with the ability and the sensitivity to touch into the hearts of whatever the occasion was. He prepared so diligently for such events and among the books he kept on his shelf was the late Gregory Allen's history of An Garda Siochana from 1922-1982 with the inscription from the author of saying " to Father Dermot Patrick, an old friend of An Garda Siochana and of Gregory Allen". Again the friendship and the respect established between Dermot Patrick and the Gardai and did not diminish even when he was succeeded by Father Joe in 2002 but continued to accompany pilgrimages and trips abroad. One particular trip to Bosnia while still Chaplain was one that especially stood out in his memory.
Dermot Patrick also made good friends within the Passionist congregation. On the golf course was especially where some of those friendships and indeed the PAM friendships, Garda friendships and other friendships found great expression. He loved to take photographs at Passionist events and gatherings whether to capture the occasion or simply to gift them to those who were in them.
It is true that on Dermot shelves there were more books of poems than anything else. He truly loved poetry and was often able to weave them beautifully into his sermons. Often you meet people who will remember a poem or perhaps a story or image that Dermot used in his preaching long, long after the event itself. It was of course in the Ministry of preaching that he spent a longer period than anything else. Over the years gave countless missions.
Passionists preach Christ crucified. At the heart of Dermot's preaching on the Cross was a belief in a God who loved us so much and who values us so much even in our sin, that he was willing to reach out to people at their lowest point whatever that might be and draw them back from the abyss. His favourite party piece was the beautiful recitation called " The touch of the Master's hand". This image of a life gone badly out of tune like an old violin but made beautiful again by the touch of God's hand was something that he truly believed in. This was something he experiences in people whom he had reconciled to God through these sacrament of confession, and more probably had experienced in his own life in different ways and perhaps more than once.
well as Dermot loved those things of earth his primary gaze was always
the things of heaven and to God. He continued to love good preaching throughout
his life and he was very encouraging if he thought you had preached well.
Even in his final sickness he made an incredible effort to come out of
hospital on Good Friday so as to be here in Mount Argus to listen to the
"Seven Last Words" of Jesus from the Cross proclaimed by seven
Passionist preachers and enhanced by the music of the Garda choir. Then
he made another superhuman effort to concelebrate mass everyday and to
listen to the preaching during our Novena of Hope in honour of Blessed
Charles at the end of May. It seemed to be something he was determined
to do and indeed it was his last great effort. No sooner was the Novena
over when his health deteriorated to the point from which there was no
recovery was possible. No doubt Blessed Charles to whom he had great devotion
and Mary, the Mother Holy Hope, will intercede for him now as he makes
that final journey into God.