FATHER Sean O’Donnell, who has died in Ireland aged 76, spent 51 years as a Roman Catholic priest in Hull and East Yorkshire.
Born at Falcarragh, Co Donegal, he studied for the priesthood at St John’s, Waterford, and was ordained on June 14,1959.
He began his ministry that year as curate at St Bede’s, Hull, remaining there or seven years. He then moved to St Alphonsus, North Ormesby, where he was again curate for eight years until 1974, and was then one year a curate at Our Lady of Lourdes, Hessle.
Father O’Donnell’s first appointment as parish priest was from 1975-1981 at St Stephen’s, Hull. He followed that with three years as priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Market Weighton, nine years at St Pius X, Middlesbrough, and from 1995 until his retirement last autumn was at St Mary’s in Filey.
Upon his retirement, he returned to Ireland.
Throughout his ministry, Father Sean O’Donnell took on numerous additional tasks. In his early years, he was an energetic promoter of and chaplain to the Young Christian Workers.
Later, he served as Diocesan chaplain to the Union of Catholic Mothers, earning that organisation’s appreciation and esteem.
It was unusual if Father Sean O’Donnell was not to be seen on the annual diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes; indeed, Sean participated in many pilgrimages, and found time to be present at most local and national Catholic gatherings - one of the final ones, perhaps, to see Pope Benedict at Cofton Park, Birmingham.
He was assiduous in building up the faith, prayer life and community spirit in the parishes he served, and in his final appointment, at St Mary’s Filey, he oversaw the building of the Parish Hall.
Father O’Donnell enjoyed a game of golf, and happily a good place to maintain contact with his brother priests was on the golf course.