A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Fr Michael Eugene O’Meeghan S.M.

From the Eulogy by Fr John O’Neill SM

Fr Michael O'Meeghan

Fr Michael O'Meeghan sm

31 May 1928 - 27 February 2012
Scripture Professor, Church Historian, Writer, Marist Origins Scholar.

Fr. Michael Eugene O’Meeghan came from a well-known Timaru family. He received his primary education from the Marist Brothers, and for secondary he went as a boarder to St Bedes College in Christchurch. He participated fully at St Bedes where his major achievements were academic.  His name appears in the annual prize list each year culminating in the award of next in merit to the Dux in his final year. In that year he was Head Prefect of the College.

He entered the Society of Mary straight from school in 1946, was professed as a Marist in 1948, and ordained a priest on 26 July 1952. After ordination he continued his studies in Rome, where he graduated in Sacred Scripture. When he returned to New Zealand in 1955, his first appointment was as a teacher at his old school St Bedes.

The next 18 years were spent teaching Scripture to students for the priesthood, in NZ and in Australia. Those who were students at the time recall his kindness to them and his humanity. During this time he published An Introduction to Marist  History. Then he had time in parish ministry, including a term as Parish Priest of St Francis de Sales, Island Bay. An unexpected talent in an academic theologian and historian was his skill in electronics and radio.

The ‘golden years’ of retirement meant a new vocation – that of Church historian.  His publications include: Held Firm by Faith: (A History of the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch 1988). Steadfast in Hope: (The Story of the Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington 1850-2000), and several articles in other historical publications. Fr Michael earned the respect of other academics for his care and detail.
At about this time, Fr O’Meeghan suffered a slight stroke.  Thereafter his right hand was affected. One of the many things I admired in Mick was his patience. He accepted his addiction to alcohol and dealt with it by complete abstinence through AA. He used his own disability to help others with the same addiction. Then there was the disability in his hand.
He mourned the death of Peter his only brother only last November. Over the last years Fr Michael suffered from a progressive respiratory disease bravely and uncomplaining. It finally caused his death.

Our sympathy goes to his nephew Tim and his niece Bridie, particularly saddened by the loss of their father and uncle in such a short time.

My own association with Michael goes back to our school days in Timaru and later as fellow Marists and, I hope, friends. Mick, I will miss you very much. You’ve had a hard last few years. You now deserve your rest. Moe mai i te Atua; moe mai 

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