Fr. Colm Patrick Rafferty, SSC (1929-2019)
Fr. Columb (“Colm”) Rafferty was born on March 2, 1929 at Craigavole, Swathagh, Co. Derry. He was educated in Swatragh Primary Elementary School and at St. Columb’s College, Derry. He came to St. Columban College, Dalgan Park, Navan, Co. Meath in 1947 and was ordained a priest on December 21, 1953.
Colm’s first appointment was to Lafayette, LA, US, to study agriculture and while there he spent one year in St. Genevieve’s parish. In 1955, after some mission appeals in the Columban US center house in Omaha, NE, he was then assigned to the Philippines to the island of Negros. Like all Columban pioneers in the early years in Negros, he struggled with huge parishes, numerous distant barrio chapels and dreadful road conditions. He served in Binalbagan, Cauayan, Sipalay, Dancalan and Candoni. He enjoyed a well-deserved vacation after seven years and in 1962 he was appointed to mission promotion work in the U. S. A.
For the next 23 years he worked in mission promotion, administration and vocations ministry in various parts of the U.S. Around 1972 he was appointed director of vocations. He describes the sixteen years he spent on this work “as among the most difficult times of my life.” The 1970s were difficult times for all priests, times of great dissent in the Church and in the world. It was hard to keep going when there were so few new vocations in spite of his efforts.In 1986, Colm was greatly relieved to be appointed back to the Philippines. He served as House Guest Master in the Columban HQ in Singalong, Manila and then after Tagalog studies he was appointed parish priest of Malate for three years followed by a period in Matain, Subic, Zambales. In 1996 he was once again appointed back to the U.S. to St. Columban Filipino Parish, Loma Drive, Los Angeles. This period of ministry in the U.S. was a much happier time for Colm. In 2007 he retired and was
appointed back to Ireland where he helped with parish work in Bellaghy, Co. Derry and celebrated occasional Masses for groups of migrant Filipinos until he moved to St. Columban Retirement Home in Dalgan Park in July 2017.
Colm was a gentle, courteous man, a dedicated and prayerful missionary, whose life enriched all those who came in contact with him. He died peacefully in St Columban Retirement Home on 8th February, 2019.
Predeceased by his parents William and Susan; stepmother Kathleen; sister Martha; brothers Dan, John, Malachy, Philip and Fr. William. Very deeply regretted by his sisters Sr. Teresa, Mary, Rose, Sr. Veronica, Anne, Noleen, Christina, Carmel, Pauline, Joan and Fionnula; brothers Brendan, Brian, Raymond and Terrence; nieces, nephews, and extended family circle.
May he rest in peace (In Irish people say “Ar dheis De go raibh a anam uasal” – May his noble soul be at the right hand of God).