Bart Kiely SJ – a life of “faith and mission”

August 21, 2018 in Featured News, Featured Podcasts, News

Bartholomew (Bart) Kiely SJ died on 17 August, 2018 aged 76 years in the loving care of the staff at Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Dublin. People can listen to the homily at his funeral Mass given by Fr Mike Drennan SJ.

Fr Kiely reposed at Cherryfield Lodge on 19 August and his funeral Mass took place at Milltown Park Chapel on 20 August followed by burial at the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin Cemetery. He is deeply regretted by the Jesuit community in Ireland and Rome, and by his brother Paddy, sisters Christine, Anne, Margaret and his many nephews, nieces, cousins and many friends.

Born and raised in Cork City, Bart attended the Christian Brothers College and entered the Society of Jesus in 1959. His Jesuit training included studies at UCD, Saint Louis University in Missouri and Milltown Park and he taught at Crescent College, Limerick as a regent before being ordained in 1972. He was known as a gifted student, studying philosophy and earning a doctorate in biochemistry at the same time and going on to do a doctorate in theology. He taught at the Gregorian University, Rome from 1976-2014. While there, he was Professor of Moral Theology & Psychology and President of the Institute of Psychology.

Having spent almost all of his priestly life in Rome at the Gregorian, Bart suffered a very serious traffic accident in 2014, which significantly compromised his health. He then came home to Cherryfield Lodge for convalescence where he was greatly loved and very content in himself. His mission was to pray for the Church and the Society of Jesus. He died peacefully after a very brief respiratory illness.

At the funeral Mass, homilist Fr Mike Drennan SJ said: “To understand Bart, you have to look at faith and mission. Otherwise you miss the core. Those were driving elements of his life of service, of availability. He had a bigger picture with Christ as very much the centre”. Fr Drennan also spoke of Bart’s influence as an educator, helping to form people from more than 70 countries who went on and did great work in the five continents.

There was a particular emphasis on the value of his convalescence since the debilitating injury: “Vulnerability made him more lovable as it does for all of us… Bart has surrendered in a new way, he has loved and let go. Now it’s time for us to let him go.”

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.