Death of Fr Ronan Drury, editor of the ‘Furrow’

Priest ‘re-energised by the promise and possibilities of Vatican II’ dies at 93

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.


‘Superb editor’

"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."

Fr Drury's remains will repose at St Mary's Chapel, Maynooth, on Sunday from 11am with removal to the College Chapel at 6pm. Requiem Mass will take place there on Monday at 11am, followed by removal to St Killian's Church, Mullagh, Co Cavan arriving at 2.30pm with burial in the adjoining cemetery.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times