ABBEYLEIX came to a standstill at noon last Saturday to mourn a much-loved parish priest, whose death in a freak accident has shocked the local community.
More than 800 people packed into the Church of the Most Holy Rosary and thronged the grounds outside to bid a sad farewell to Fr John Cummins, PP, who died in a car accident outside his home aged only 52.
At the concelebrated Requiem Mass involving more than 50 clergy, chief celebrant Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin summed up the sadness and desolation felt throughout the parish and diocese. He said: “There are so many people who feel bereft and adrift when someone so gifted, so able and so talented is taken away, literally in the twinkling of an eye. We are indeed broken and crushed.”
Fr Cummins was buried Newbridg on Monday morning following funeral mass in St Conleth’s Church.
In the hours before his death, Fr Cummins attended a joyful Grandparents’ Day celebration at Scoil Mhuire NS before leaving for the parochial house on the Ballinakill Road. He suffered fatal injuries in the accident that occurred in the driveway of his home last Wednesday afternoon.
Bishop Nulty confirmed at the weekend that clergy from Portlaoise and other parishes will provide pastoral services for Abbeyleix and Ballyroan in coming weeks. The bishop said it will be a considerable time before a successor is appointed, as the parishes and diocese struggle to come to terms with the devastating loss.