THERE was widespread shock throughout the Diocese of Kerry when one of the county’s best-known priests passed away, suddenly, on Friday.
Canon Michael Fleming, who was in his early 70s, died in hospital where he had been recovering from surgery.
The former Administrator of the Parish of Killarney had been PP in Killorglin for the past 17 years and from his base in St James’s Church, he served as Vicar Forane for the entire Mid Kerry area, including Killorglin, Cromane, Beaufort, Castlemaine, Glenbeigh and Milltown.
A native of Scartaglen, Canon Fleming had worked in several parishes in Kerry and overseas and following initial postings in Dingle and Waterville, he spent some time administering in Wembley in London.
He returned to his native Kerry in 1977 when he was appointed curate in Glenflesk where he worked alongside Fr Michael Herlihy and Fr Seán O’Leary in the sprawling parish.
Canon Fleming became Parish Administrator in Killarney, operating from St Mary’s Cathedral, for a number of years before transferring to Moyvane and, finally, Killorglin where he was very happy and well respected.
A keen golfer and a passionate Kerry GAA supporter, he would have celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination in 2021.
Paying tribute to Canon Fleming, Laune Rangers GAA Club said everybody was shocked by his untimely passing.
“Laune Rangers GAA offer our deepest condolences to Fr Fleming’s family, friends, fellow clergymen and to our fellow parishioners,” a club statement read.
A notice in the weekly newsletter in St James’s Church, Killorglin read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Fr Michael, who has been our Good Shepherd since 2003.
The parish added: “He stood with us in our times of sorrow. He celebrated with us in our times of joy”.
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