In Memory of Fr Bernard (Benny) Halpin OMI Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis
Fr Bernard (Benny) Halpin OMI
Fr Benny went home to God on March 5, 2019 (peacefully) in the care of the staff at the Hermitage Clinic, Lucan; he is deeply regretted by his loving sister Teresa (London), brother Jimmy (New York), close friend Finola, nieces, nephews, relatives, and his Oblate brothers.
Benny Halpin, the youngest child of John and Julia Halpin, was born in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, in April 1942. After completing his Leaving Certificate Examination at the local Gilson Endowed Secondary School in 1960, he worked in London for a short time. On returning to Ireland, he entered the Oblate novitiate at Ardagh, Co. Limerick in September 1961.
Apart from a very significant contribution to the difficult work of childcare, in the 1970s and early ’80s, Benny spent his years of priesthood in parish ministry in both Britain and Ireland.
As a young man he was a top-class foot-baller and all-round sportsman, always competitive and focussed. Later on, he would bring these same qualities to playing golf, a game he loved. It was a joy to be in his company. He had a great sense of humour and a sharp, witty sense of the ridiculous. Not surprisingly, he developed a keen interest in theatre and acting during his student years, and was given some prominent roles in student productions.
Those of us who had the opportunity to get to know Benny well, also discovered a quietly thoughtful man with a clear and purposeful mind and excellent judgment. He was a deep thinker who was always practical and kept his feet on the ground. And as a keen GAA man from his youth, he retained a deep interest in his native place, his family, friends and roots.
When this strong and vibrant man was first hit by serious illness about 10 years ago, he responded with his usual determination. His quiet acceptance of the illness, the pessimistic prognosis of doctors, and the suffering and loss involved, did not lessen his will to live his life as fully as possible.
A friend who visited Benny recently in hospital, wrote:
‘He is moving through these extremely difficult days with enormous grace and courage, and, yes, love. He is so open and honest that he invites the same from his visitors. Sitting there with him, you become acutely aware of his gifts, his depths of kindness, patience and generosity. He is a bright and sensitive man with the heart of a lion even as his earthly body crumbles before his wide-awake eyes … … all I can say is that his shrunken face was radiant, his smile bright and beautiful, his welcome warm and sincere.’
It has been an honour and privilege to be able to visit him during the last weeks of his life.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
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