Pádraig McCarthy pays tribute to the late Ronan Drury
Ronan Drury, editor of The Furrow since 1977, died on 16 November 2017, at the age of 93. His funeral Mass took place on Monday 20 November in the College Chapel in Maynooth. The funeral then proceeded to his native Mullagh, Co Cavan.
Ronan attended some AGMs of the ACP in Athlone.
He was born in Mullagh, and was ordained for the diocese of Meath in 1949. He was professor of homiletics in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He succeeded Canon JG McGarry, also professor of homiletics, who founded The Furrow in 1950, when JG McGarry was killed in a car crash in 1977.
Ronan did a remarkable job with The Furrow, sourcing material form a wide range of sources over the 40 years, and enriching and broadening reflection on faith during very significant years for the Catholic church in Ireland.
He was modest and unassuming, with a gentle sense of humour.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
There was also a touching article in the Irish Times
Fr Ronan Drury (93), editor of the Furrow magazine since 1977, has died. He succeeded Canon JG McGarry who founded the monthly magazine in 1950 but was killed in a car crash in 1977. Canon McGarry had been professor of homiletics at St Patrick’s College Maynooth, in which role Fr Drury also succeeded him.
From Mullagh in Co Cavan, Fr Drury was ordained in 1949. He died peacefully at Dublin’s Mater hospital on Thursday evening surrounded by his family and friends.
A relative, the poet and publisher of The Gallery Press Peter Fallon, described him as “a constant presence in all of our lives, my brother’s and sister’s and all of our cousins”.
“Ronan was one of a generation of enlightened priests who were losing faith in their church leadership and who were re-energised by the promise and possibilities of Vatican II. In turn they were betrayed by the systematic, institutional abuses and covers-up by the church that have haunted and scarred our society.
“He was a superb editor of the Furrow. I remember Seamus Heaney’s gratitude to him for inviting him to compose an essay. Seamus’s beautiful meditation The Poet as Christian appeared in the issue of October 1978.”
Mr Fallon said in the course of recent hospital visits to Fr Drury “he spoke of how the scriptures counsel care for others and reproached himself for first thinking sometimes of himself. And for this, he reflected that he hadn’t always been a good priest.
“I told him I thought the people of Mullagh and of Maynooth would not agree. The appearance of younger people during these visits illuminated how important he was in their lives. In as much as we can ever know, I dare say Ronan Drury was a good man.”