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Death of Michael Paul Gallagher SJ

Fr Michael Paul Gallagher SJ died last night (Friday 6 November) in St Vincent’s Private Hospital, just after the anointing of the sick and prayers with three Jesuit friends. He had been ill for some months.

He was a native of Colooney, Co.Sligo. He received his secondary education at Clongowes Wood College. After joining the Jesuits he did special studies in Renaissance literature in Oxford,

Michael Paul was a renowned lecturer and author of books on faith and contemporary culture. He lectured in English in UCD for over ten years in the 1970s and 80s before going to Rome, where he lectured in theology in the Gregorian University.

He was also a valued contributor, for many years, to the well-known Jesuit publication The Sacred Heart  Messenger. His latest article on ‘The Prospect of Dying’ is in the current issue,

Shortly before his death he recorded a series of short videos for the Jesuit Guide to Making Good Decisions. He also wrote the text for an online Advent Retreat, shortly to be published on the Jesuit prayer website Sacred Space and on the Pray-As-You-Go podcast prayer website of the Jesuits in Britain.

His book Into Extra Time, an account of his path of faith through illness, will soon be published by Darton, Longman and Todd/Messenger Publications.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

For further information contact:

Ms Pat Coyle
Jesuit Communications Ireland
Irish Jesuit Provincialate
Milltown Park,
Dublin 6
Direct line: 353 1 4987372
Mobile: 086 8190029


  1. I recently signed up for the “Making Good Decisions” and look forward to hearing and reading Fr. Michael’s inspirational thoughts. It’s sad to know that he has died. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and all the Irish Jesuits who will certainly grieve his passing. Eternal rest and rewards to him.

  2. May the angels welcome him to paradise

  3. I am sad in taking notice of the inevitable: Fr. Michael Paul Gallagher left this world! So is life and we all are in the hands of God. For a very few years we coincided at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Fr. Gallagher was a man of great intelligence and remarkable sensibility, aesthetic and otherwise. His many contributions to the understanding of the Christian Faith are a wonderful gift to Church and Society. I feel particularly honored in having had the chance to promote and accompany the translation of his «Faith Maps» into Portuguese, a book that was published in Portugal just a few days before the arrival of the sad news that this generous man of God and brilliant servant of the Church had passed away into God’s definitive kingdom of Love and Mercy. Fr. Gallagher will be greatly missed, but his witness as Apostle of the Intellect should be followed by many. His example deserves praise and gratitude. I will never forget his generosity and willingness to give to others the best of himself. I also congratulate the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus for having generated in Christ such a man of intelligence and service to the Good of many Others. May the Lord grant this faithful Servant of His the plenitude of His Joy and Peace!

  4. Greatly saddened to read of the passing of a intellectual colossus and gentle man of God. Always proud of his Co Sligo roots too. May his noble soul enjoy eternal peace. Pat Hunt

  5. Fr Gallagher was a great teacher and example of the Catholic priesthood.. A brilliant mind and a good educator. Requiescat in pace

  6. A good man we were in the same class in Theology at Milltown..good memories of him.

  7. I remember meeting Michael Paul in 1984 when I was a novice doing the “study experiment” in Dollymount, Dublin.
    Michael Paul appeared to me to be the kindest, gentlest and most honest Jesuit I had met up till then.
    The simple title “Help my Unbelief” has helped me through years and years of doubt off and on.
    My prayers for the peaceful repose of this man of great integrity and kindness.
    And for the consolation of his brothers and family who were privileged to be part of his life.

  8. Il tuo sorriso ha illuminato la mia vita e quella di tutti coloro che ti hanno conosciuto. Quando sono nata, molto prima del previsto, tu mi hai battezzata ed io porto il tuo nome per il profondo legame di amicizia che ti legava e ti legherà per sempre alla mia famiglia. Mi dispiace averti perso proprio quando stavo per iniziare il mio percorso spirituale perché tu saresti stato una guida preziosa. Ricordo quando hai risposto, con la semplicità che appartiene solo ai grandi uomini, alle mie domande sulla creazione del mondo, sul significato dell’esistenza. Ora so che sei in cielo e da lassù proteggerai tutti noi.

  9. I first met Michael Paul close to forty years ago. He was a true and loyal friend. He led a remarkable life of faith and service to others. His Christian humility was an inspiration to all, believers and non-believers alike. His beloved Community has lost a real visionary. I and others who were fortunate to share his spiritual guidance on our human journey wish him well on his eternal journey.

  10. Fr Michael Paul Gallagher was an inspirational teacher. His approach was always student centred, at a time when this was not usually the case at third level. He welcomed us undergraduate students of English into his office, for our fortnightly tutorials, with a warm cuppa and a friendly smile. He encouraged and motivated each of us to contribute to the conversation during these tutorials. His lectures were always looked forward to as his enthusiasm was contagious and his reading of poetry, in his soft west of Ireland tones, left us mesmerised. He was one of the great influences on my approach to teaching and learning. He did great work here, may he rest in peace.

  11. (Father) Robert Imbelli

    Michael Paul Gallagher was a fine theologian, a committed priest, and a wonderful Christian gentleman. His writings are characterized by clarity and depth. I had the honor of reviewing his excellent book, “Faith Maps” for “America Magazine.” Both in life and in death he witnessed to his love of Christ and his desire to be fully incorporated into Christ’s body. I pray that his deepest desire be now fulfilled.

  12. From across the miles, our heartfelt sympathy to the Jesuit community in this time of great loss…for this immense treasure of heart and mind that shared his life with so many of us. May he rest in peace.
    Tom and Christine O`Brien and Family – Toronto

  13. I don’t care about the theologian, I don’t care about the teacher, or about the brilliant mind. I lost a friend, I lost one of my best friends.