Much-loved Fr. John laid to rest

It was with tremendous sadness that the parishioners of Athleague and Fuerty, and indeed people from further afield, learned of the recent passing of much-loved parish priest, Fr. John Leogue (55). His death occurred in the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin on Sunday, January 24th. He had been ill for just over a year.

  Large crowds gathered in St. Patrick’s Church, Athleague yesterday (Wednesday) at noon to pay their respects to Fr. Leogue, whom the Elphin Diocesan office described as “a man of faith and a dedicated priest and pastor, who shared the everyday joys and sorrows of those he served in his various appointments.”

  Fr. Leogue was predeceased by his parents, Joe and Maura, Mohill, Co. Leitrim, and by his infant brother, Joesph. He is deeply mourned by his sisters, Mary Hough, Sligo, and Teresa Moran, Aughavas, and his brothers, Michael, Cork, and Pat, Fermoy, along with their spouses, Pat, John, Liz and Patricia, his nieces, nephews and grandnephew, cousins, relatives and friends.

  Fr. Leogue was due to celebrate his 56th birthday next month.

  Following studies in Summerhill College, Sligo, St. Patrick’s College in Kiltegan, University College Cork and Maynooth College, Fr. Leogue was ordained on June, 8th in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo.

  The Elphin Diocesan office stated: “Following a number of temporary appointments in Newbridge and Grange, Fr. John was appointed Curate in Ballyrush (Ballinafad) in the summer of 1988. He was transferred to the teaching staff of Summerhill College, Sligo in 1989. During that year he also became Chaplain to the Sligo unit of the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland.

  “John’s return to full-time parish ministry was not long delayed. In the summer of 1990 he was appointed Curate at Fuerty in the parish of Athleague, and while remaining in that appointment, became Catechetical Director of Primary Schools for the Diocese of Elphin in 1995. He was appointed parish priest of Athleague in 2002.

  “Fr. John was a keen statistician and used this gift to assist in financial planning and in making projections for the future of the diocese. Following the death of Fr. John O’Rourke, Fr. Leogue took responsibility for the management of the Sick and Retired Priests fund and, in that capacity, offered his assistance to older clergy in making plans for their retirement.

  “In the time of his own illness, which lasted just over a year, Fr. John demonstrated great resilience and courage, seeking all the time to push back the boundaries which ill-health had placed in his way. As recently as early December he was to be seen regularly in and around Roscommon and keeping his foot in the door of the ministry. Sadly that door began to close on him in the few weeks before Christmas.”

  Cllr. Ivan Connaughton joined many others in paying his respects on social media earlier in the week.

  “I am saddened to hear the death of my good friend Fr. John. You will be sadly missed in this parish and beyond. You were always there when anyone needed you. Condolences to your family and many, many friends. Farewell John, your good work will never be forgotten.”

  Elsewhere, a post from Sacred Heart parish, Roscommon read: “Wherever a beautiful soul has been, there is a trail of beautiful memories. May you rest in peace, Fr. John Leogue.”

  Following Wednesday’s funeral Mass, Fr. Leogue was laid to rest in Cloonmorris Cemetery, Leitrim.