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Fr Seamus Noctor RIP

Fr Seamus died peacefully at the Glenashling Nursing Home in Co. Kildare, on the morning of 16th January. Fr Seamus’ sister, Maura, who was also living at Glenashling, died two days previously. 

Fr Seamus' funeral Mass will take place in the Chapel of the Glenashling Nursing Home, Old Town Road, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland  on Saturday 19 January at 11am, followed by burial in Mount Jerome Cemetery. 

Fr Seamus was born in Dublin in September 1928 and ordained there in March 1957.

Sympathy is extended to Fr Seamus’ relatives and friends, and to the staff and residents at Glenashling.

Obituary: 

Fr Séamus Noctor spent the final years of his life living back in Ireland, at the Glenashling Nursing Home in Celbridge, County Kildare where his sister Maura was in residence at the time of Fr Séamus’ arrival there. Maura died on 13th January, the death of her brother followed on 16th January.Their funeral Mass took place in the Chapel at Glenashling on 19th January followed by burial in the family grave in Mount Jerome Cemetery. Fr Séamus was 90 years of age, and was a priest of the Diocese of Westminster for 61 years.

Séamus Noctor was born in Dublin on 2nd September 1928, the son of James and Sarah Noctor. The family home was in the Harold’s Cross area of the city. He had five siblings. He was educated at St Laurence O’Toole Secondary School and went on to study book keeping, shorthand and typing. His skills led to employment in a local office with a company involved with imports and exports. For recreation he enjoyed dancing, and learnt waltz, quickstep and jive. He had a good voice and enjoyed singing, a gift he would bring to his priestly ministry.

Séamus was accepted as a student for the priesthood. He was Ordained to the Diaconate in the Chapel at St Mary’s College, Oscott on 22nd September 1956 by Bishop Humphrey Bright, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, and to the priesthood on 16 March 1957 at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe in Dublin by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid. A contemporary of Séamus’, at Allen Hall, St Edmund’s College, Ware described the older Séamus as a student who was interested more in billiards and snooker than in table tennis, favoured by the younger seminarians. Following ordination, Fr Séamus was appointed Assistant Priest at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Copenhagen Street, from 1957 to 1972 when he was appointed to serve as Assistant Priest at St Joseph’s, Wembley with the understanding that his ministry would commence at the beginning of October. However, there was a delay in Fr Séamus taking up his appointment. He was given permission by the Cardinal to return to Dublin to attend to family matters, including the family business, a pub. Thirteen months later the Vicar General, Mgr David Norris, wrote to Fr Séamus, on behalf of Cardinal Heenan, to ask when he might return to the Diocese to take up his appointment! It seems that there were some difficulties trying to sell the business on Lower Sherriff Street, described by Fr Séamus in correspondence with the Diocese as being a ‘no-go area’, with a bad reputation. In January 1973 Fr Séamus wrote a lengthy letter to the Vicar General letting him know that there were still difficulties with selling the pub, and reassuring him that he was involved with Church life by celebrating two Sunday Masses in a local church and attending clergy gatherings at Clonliffe College. He concluded his letter ‘…as requested, as soon as it is possible for me to return to my duties in the Diocese I will let you know.’ The Vicar General sent a two-sentence reply, expressing the hope that Fr Séamus would soon return to the Diocese. Three days later, on 11th January, the Cardinal wrote a very directive letter to Fr Séamus, expressing his concern for him and making clear what was required of him. Fr Séamus replied by return of post, promising to return as soon as possible. The Vicar General had to write again to Fr Séamus, in March, to which Fr Séamus replied that the pub would be sold the following month and then he would return to the Diocese and take up his appointment in Wembley.

Fr Séamus served as Assistant Priest at Wembley from mid-April 1973 until his next appointment, as Parish Priest at St Augustine’s, Harringay in 1974 in succession to Fr Hugh Bishop. He remained there until his retirement from full time parish ministry in April 2009. Fr Séamus’ symptoms of dementia had become evident. The parish of St Augustine was then merged with the parish of St John Vianney, West Green, it had been founded from West Green 1964 but turned out to be non-viable. He was very happy at St Augustine’s, and devoted all his time and energy to the parish. As well as for his kindness to the parishioners and his devotion to the Mass, he is remembered for his sartorial elegance, and his large vintage car. He never regretted becoming a priest, even when he was distracted by the family business; he had a good sense of humour, indeed of mischief, and an easy rapport with those with whom he came into contact. 

In 2009 Fr Séamus retired from St Augustine’s to live at St Anne’s Nursing Home in Stoke Newington where his needs were met by the Sisters and staff. With increasing dementia Fr Séamus’ needs had to be met elsewhere, and his family arranged for him to return to Ireland, to Glenashling Nursing Home. He took up residence there in the summer of 2015 and was well cared and provided for until his death. He was invited to return to London to celebrate his Diamond Jubilee of ordination, 60 years, by Cardinal Vincent, with fellow jubilarians, in 2017 but he was unable to accept due to his circumstances. He was remembered then, as he is now and always will be, with affection for his dedication to the Church and the people of God.

May he rest in peace.