Parish Of Birth
St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth Co Kildare, Ireland
St. Patrick’s College, Carlow Ireland
Details Of Ordination
Church of the Way of the Cross, Togher, Cork
Enniskeane PP : 20/2/2004 – 7/1/2008
Schull PP & Goleen Adm. : 16/7/1999 – 20/2/2004
Carrigaline CC : 3/6/1994 – 16/7/1999
St. Joseph’s, Mayfield, CC : 1/9/1986 – 3/6/1994
Knocknaheeny CC : 14/9/1981 – 1/9/1986
Chaplain, Skibbereen : 11/10/1975 – 14/9/1981
Chaplain, Little Sisters of the Poor : 8/9/1973 – 11/10/1975
Fr. Nolan died suddenly at his home.
Date Of Death
Place Of Death
Parochial House, Enniskeane
Place Of Burial
Church Grounds, Enniskeane.
NOLAN Very Rev MICHAEL (KEVIN) PP, Enniskeane: Unexpectedly, at the Parochial House, Enniskeane, on January 7, 2008, much loved son of the late John and Catherine Nolan, Bandon and devoted brother of Patricia (Murphy) and Catherine. Sadly missed by his sisters, brother-in-law Michael, nephews Patrick, John, Michael and Brendan, grandniece, grandnephew, his housekeeper Olive, parishioners, Very Rev Sean McCarthy P.E., Bishop Buckley, priests of the diocese and a wide circle of friends. Reception prayers on today (Tuesday) at 7.30pm in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Enniskeane. Lying in repose on tomorrow (Wednesday), with prayers at 7.30pm. Requiem Mass on Thursday at 2pm, followed by burial in the Church Grounds. May he rest in peace.
The following is the text of the homily preached by Fr Paddy Hickey (PP Timoleague) at Fr Nolan’s funeral Mass in Enniskeane.:
Last Saturday morning Michael Nolan rang me as usual asking, “Paddy, are you going spudding today?” “Fine, Michael, I am” I answered. “I’ll be seeing you, usual time”.
A few of us priests meet on Saturdays to have a few spuds and talk about this or that. One man mentioned a particularly sad funeral that had taken place over Christmas. I said that I happened to be at it and so was looking at the young man in the coffin just beside the baby Jesus in the crib.
I added that I was reminded of the words of the French poet, Victor Hugo: “life begins with the mystery of the cradle and ends with the mystery of the coffin”. Little did I think that the next time I would be quoting this saying that it would be Michael Nolan himself who would be in the coffin and that the crib would be in his own church of Enniskeane. My last words to him were an offer to say Mass for him that evening in Ahiohill, but he said that he was alright this time, as Tom Hayes would be doing it.
Fr. Nolan’s mother placed him in the cradle in Bandon on the seventh of September in 1948. He went to the local N.S., then to the Hamilton High School. It was at this time, he told me, that he felt the call of the Lord to the priesthood. He went to Maynooth and Carlow and was ordained in 1973.
Michael worked as chaplain to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Cork, then taught in the Vocational School in Skibbereen and worked in the parish too. Next, he was sent to St Joseph’s, Mayfield, Carrigaline, Schull and Ballydehob (my own country) and finally here to Enniskeane.
Here, he served the Lord until he suddenly called him last Monday morning. We know not the day or the hour as the Lord himself warned us. And Michael would have been ready.
We look at his life’s work for the Lord, begin with here and now. We look at this church, the House of God and the House of the people of God. He gathered up and led the people to restore their own church. (He was always a gatherer.) Of course, this cost him work and worry, as it always does, but it was a labour of love — love of the Lord and his people in Enniskeane.
One thing he never seemed to worry too much about was money. He had the knack of getting a lot of it out of ye! Due credit must be given all around.
His care for the people of the parish began with the children. Yesterday at their own special Mass for him they told us of the way he prepared them for the sacraments, had class Masses, and here in Enniskeane provided them with ground for a pitch. Similarly, at one time, he organised soccer leagues for the altar servers of the diocese.
Michael did not forget the old people either and was involved in providing housing for them just over there. His care of the sick caused him to lead many pilgrimages to Lourdes in every parish he found himself. He went there at least twenty times. He was particularly interested in people suffering from bereavement. He was a local founder of “B.E.” or Beginning Experience, an organisation that helps people to cope with bereavement.
Like we are all doing now, he struggled with bereavement and tried to find words for it like we all are doing now. One time the great writer, Samuel Beckett, lost a friend and he asked: Who can find words to define nothingness? Who can weigh absence on a scale?
After the death of her husband, an old woman in Cape Clear, Noiné Uí Drisceoil, told me that what she felt most was easpa sean fir sa chúinne — “the lack, the absence, of an old man in the corner.”
What we are all feeling now is the lack of a not so old a man, everywhere, because Michael Nolan seemed to be everywhere. A French Jewish woman, Simone Veil, lost many members of her family in the concentration camp at Auschwitz.
She said that they were an absence which was always present, yes, an absence always present. Similarly, Fr. Nolan’s absence will be present to a lot of us for a long time to come.
Another organisation that was dear to Michael was the Pioneers and he was often chaplain to them. You can see that he shared a good deal with me, but not my interest in French wines!
In the words of Isaiah, he was always trying to bind up hearts that were broken whether by drink or death or any sickness of mind or body. He experienced terrible pain himself too recently with the eye trouble he had. So he knew only too well what he was talking about.
Michael had many friends among the priests of the diocese and beyond especially his classmates in Maynooth and Carlow. One of them was here yesterday from Westport, Co. Mayo. Michael was also a good friend to priests, for example, myself.
We had a mutual friend, Joe Murphy, formerly P.P. of Ballinhassig who died in August. He was Michael’s soul-mate or anam cara. His long illness and death was a sad source of worry and loneliness for Michael. We pray that they are now together in heaven. How I am missing Joe these past few days!
At our last meal or “spudding” on Saturday, Michael was talking to me about putting up the headstone to him. Little did I think that within two days that I would be picking out a grave for himself outside there.
However, Fr. Nolan knew much happiness too. He enjoyed sport, especially G.A.A. and soccer. He loved going on pilgrimages, not only to Lourdes but also to Knock, the Footsteps of St Paul, and the Holy Land itself. As well as by Joe of course, he was often accompanied by another old friend, Fr. Kerry Murphy-O’Connor.
Michael was very fond of his sister, Pat, and her husband Michael, as well as his other sister Kathleen and also his four nephews. There was joy up in Skeaf at the marriage of Patrick to Mairéad Sexton and at the christening of their children.
I shared in it too. He had many friends too, especially his housekeeper Olive.
In spite of everything Fr. Nolan has a wry sense of humour. We, his friends, always enjoyed his stories. At times, the subject matter would be serious enough but he could usually see the funny side of it. He brought all of these qualities to all the people he served ? from the estates of Carrigaline to the slopes of Mount Gabriel.
Finally, we thank the Lord for the good sixty years that he gave him and we humbly accept his will not to grant him any more, alas. We also pray that we will all face the mystery of the coffin in the light of the Resurrection of that little baby in the cradle at Bethlehem.
The following tribute appeared in the Enniskeane and Desertserges parish newsletter: “It is with heavy hearts that we recall our serious loss on the death of Fr. Michael Nolan. It came as such a great shock to us that we still do not fully realise, that he is not with us anymore. He had been so active in our midst, and so involved in parish affairs that we can not imagine the situation without him.
He came to our parish four years ago, having served with distinction, in a number of other places. When a new Parish Priest comes, there is always a certain amount of excitement aroused. It is going to mean a lot of changes. There is a new man now in charge.
He is going to be different. He will have a new approach. We will have to wait and see how thing are going to be done.
We learned quickly what the new man was going to be like. In appearance, he looked older than his years. In conversation with people, he was a good listener.
He did not say much, was very soft spoken, with his own brand of humour that seemed to appear in witty afterthoughts. He was very gentle in his behaviour, spoke in whispers, was never angry did not ever seem to be hurt, even though we all knew he was very sensitive.
He was very conscientious about his spiritual duties, a devout man in his prayer life, in preaching the word of God, in his visitation of the sick, and in the special personal skill that he had for consoling people who suffered from separation and bereavement.
Of course, the most demanding job he had to undertake was the refurbishment of the Parish Church. Being the man in charge, it was a constant serious worry to him.
We thank the Lord, that he had the satisfaction of seeing it completed and that he had the great joy of witnessing the splendid opening night, that was performed so gloriously by the Bishop, the clergy and all of the people of the Parish before the Lord decided to call him away.
We will continue to pray for him and to ask the Lord to grant him one of his choice places in Heaven. May he rest in peace until we meet him again.?