Catholic Church Kilsyth

Fr. Patrick Kelly

The ordination photograph of Fr Patrick Kelly from 1959.Patrick Kelly was born in Kilsyth in 1935. He was educated at Blairs Junior Seminary in Aberdeen and Drygrange Seminary near Melrose in the Scottish borders. Fr Patrick was ordained priest in St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh on 14th March 1959.

His first Parish was St Ninian's Edinburgh where he was to serve as assistant Priest for 7 years from 1959 to 1966. He was then transferred to St Mary of the Angels at Camelon in Falkirk where he was to serve as assistant priest for a further 2 years from 1966 to 1967. Fr Kelly was then transferred to St Margaret's Dunfermline from 1967 until 1972.

His first Parish as the Parish Priest was Our Lady of Lorretto and St Michael in Musselburgh where he served from 1972 to 1985.

He was then transferred to St John Vianney's in Edinburgh in 1985.

We are not sure of the exact date of Fr Kelly's retiral however he lived in ill health in retirement in Newmills and was then eventually looked after by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Edinburgh for many years where he celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination to the Priesthood in 2009.

Fr Kelly died peacefully at the age of 77, with the Little Sisters of the Poor, on Sunday 15th April 2012 after serving for 53 years as a priest. His funeral took place from the church of the Holy Name at Oakley in Fife on Wednesday the 25th April 2012.

Faithful servant of God , may he rest in peace!

Fr Kelly at Canon McGarvies Diamond Jubilee - recessional procession

Above Fr Kelly visits St Patrick's Kilsyth in May 1985 for Canon McGarvies Diamond Jubilee Mass, below his Ordination Card

Obituary Fr Patrick Kelly - 15th April 2012

Fr Patrick Kelly has died in the Easter season when we are celebrating the Resurrection and meditating on the appearances of the risen Lord. One appearance, dear to the heart of Fr Patrick was that by the loch of Galilee, recounted by John in Chapter 21. It was preached at the start of one of our seminary retreats at Drygrange and it made a deep and lasting impression.

As well as showing us our final hope of a glorious resurrection with Jesus, this Gospel illustrated the privileges of priesthood. Seven, the number in the boat shows the perfection of discipleship. 153 is a symbol of the universality of the church for, as St Jerome tells us, some Greek geographers believed that there were 153 different types of fish. Thus all nations and all kinds of people are drawn into the Church. Jesus giving bread and fish is symbolic of the Eucharist. Thus this gospel incident demonstrated the pastoral mission of the priest, drawing all kinds of people into the unity of the Church, and offering for them the sacrifice of the Mass. This Gospel inspired Fr Patrick in his seminary days and in his priesthood.

Patrick Kelly was born in Kilsyth on the 3rd July 1935. He has a younger brother Peter, who is with us today. Peter has happy memories of the brothers going together with the catholic boys guild to Buncrana Castle in Ireland where they enjoyed swimming and other sports. Pat liked Tom & Jerry Cartoons, followed Celtic and loved the cinema and horse racing at Ayr.

At the age of twelve, Pat went to Blairs to study for the priesthood. Our desks in the study-hall were next to each other as places were allocated by age and we were born in the same month. It was soon apparent that pat was a great footballer and that he had a great singing voice and a good sense of humour. Later he showed great acting talent as he played the part of a gangster in ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ in our top year.

After Blairs Patrick was one of the first twelve students in the new seminary at Drygrange near Melrose. Every visitor to the collage likened us to the twelve apostles, which led to arguments amongst ourselves as to who was Judas. We had manual work in the grounds three afternoons each week and Pat was expert with the scythe and one of the few students who were allowed to use it. Pat was an avid reader and the first to buy the Rheims-Douai Bible and read it from cover to cover – a feat that was soon emulated by other students.

Fr Patrick was ordained priest in the Cathedral, Edinburgh on 14th March 1959. His first appointment was to Restalrig. With his good looks and football and signing skills, he was a great image for the youth. One lady who was a youth in St Ninian’s said recently, ‘My memory of Fr Pat is seeing him on his scooter, racing up to the Cathedral Hall for a Legion of Mary meeting, with his scarf blowing in the wind.’ Fr Pat had a great love of his Parish Priest, Fr Fusco, and a great loyalty to him. His love of animals was soon apparent as he played with Nino, the housekeeper’s dog. One Priest said, ‘Pat is a true son of St Francis.

After seven years in St Ninian’s, Fr Pat proceeded to Camelon, but only for about a year, for he was soon transferred to St Margaret’s Dunfermline. There he was Master of Ceremonies at the great Dunfermline pilgrimages, and the ceremonies went off without a hitch.

From Dunfermline on to Musselburgh where once again Fr Pat had a great love for his Parish Priest, Fr John Ward and he shared his enthusiasm for the Bidding Prayers in the Breviary which they both used at Mass as well as in the Devine Office. He was assiduous in visiting the hospitals and the sick at home. He is still remembered as a spiritual director of the Legion of Mary. One Lady from Musselburgh very recently wrote to Fr Patrick saying ‘You were brilliant and you were so well liked.’ When Fr John Ward was in failing health, he was well attended by and assisted by Fr Patrick. Little wonder that when Fr ward retired, Fr Patrick succeeded him as Parish Priest.

Fr Patrick’s next parish was St John Vianney’s in Gilmerton. Here he continues the practice which of his predecessor, Fr John Ramsey, in having a Holy Hour each month with a copia of preists for confessions, after which a meal was provided for the confessors. This was a great service to the parishioners and contributed to the fellowship of the priests. Despite the work in a big parish, Fr Patrick still found time to make regular visits to his old friend, Fr Fusco , who was in semi–retirement in Pathhead.

Over and above his parish commitments, Fr Patrick has many friends overseas whom he visited on holidays. He loved to go to the Vatican and brought back fine presents for his mother and family. His friends in Canada gave him great joy; they owned a fruit farm and Pat recounted how one summer he sold fruit by the roadside. Twice he went with these friends to Venezuela, both memorable experiences.

Sadly Fr Pat’s health began to deteriorate. Wracked with constant pain from Spondylitis, he had to retire. From then on, his apostolate was to offer up his illness for the good of souls, saying with St Paul, ‘I make up in my own flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.’ Fr Pat found a happy home in Newmills where he was well looked after by Miss Ann Fern who had been housekeeper in his first parish, St Ninian’s. In Newmills he made many friends and was greatly respected. Immediately after his death, one neighbour wrote, ‘He will be sadly missed; he was a very caring man.

Fr Patrick went to meet his Lord on Sunday 15th April at the home of the Little Sisters of the poor who had tenderly cared for him in his last illness. He had 53 years of priesthood. He was a humble man who sought not honours or renown. For him, his priesthood was sufficient. May he rest in peace!

By kind permission of the Scottish Catholic Directory, 2013 edition. Pgs 158 – 160.

God BlessYou!