Irish priest hailed as peacebroker by Philippine government

Fr Michael Guckian was killed in a Co Roscommon hit-and-run incident last weekend

Fr Michael Guckian (81): ‘without a doubt helped to shape the lives of many Christian and Muslims through his teachings’

Fr Michael Guckian (81): ‘without a doubt helped to shape the lives of many Christian and Muslims through his teachings’

 

The Philippine government has paid tribute to a former missionary priest who was killed in a hit-and-run incident last weekend.

Fr Michael Guckian (81) died when he was struck by a car while walking in Keadue, Co Roscommon, on Saturday night. The driver later presented himself to Carrick-on-Shannon Garda station.

Fr Guckian’s funeral takes place on Thursday morning in Drumboylan, Co Roscommon, where he grew up.

The Oblates priest, who spent his final years in the order’s house of retreat in Inchicore, was a missionary priest in the Philippines most of the time – over 33 years – between 1965 and 2003 and worked in the remote areas of the autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao.

In a letter to the Oblates, the Philippine consul to Ireland, Raymond Garrett, said Fr Guckian had “without a doubt helped to shape the lives of many Christian and Muslims through his teachings, assistance to those in distress and in the peace building efforts he made between Muslim and Christian communities”.

Mr Garrett sent the letter on his behalf and that of Antonio Lagdameo, the Philippine ambassador to the UK and Ireland.

In it he quotes from Fr Guckian’s farewell letter to the provincial of the Philippine Province. “I will always be grateful for my years in our Philippine Province - the happy memories, experiences, good friends, many wonderful people that have helped shape my life over 33 years in mix of joy and pain.”

His relative Edwina Guckian, a former finalist in the Rose of Tralee, described him as an “incredibly kind and gentle friend”.

She added: “I sometimes forgot there was 49 years between us. He brought happiness, laughter and life wth him everywhere he went. His sense of humour was that of a young boy.

“Seeing his 93 LM Nissan Sunny pull in outside our home always brought a smile to my grandparents’ faces and for me now in my own adult life a great sense of comfort and connection to a special generation that we won’t see the likes of again.

“Anyone that knew him will know he spent his whole life helping and thinking of everyone else. We were so lucky to have him.” Ms Guckian said.