Richard A. Kieran obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Richard A. Kieran

March 7, 1940 - November 21, 2016

Obituary


Reverend Richard A. Kieran was born March 7, 1940 in Dublin, Ireland. He is the son of the late Laurence T. and the late Joan S. Kieran and grew up as one of eight children on their farm in County Louth. He was educated at the De La Salle Brothers School in Ardee and Glenstal Abbey School before entering St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, County Kildare, for seminary and university. He received a bachelor of science from the National University of Ireland and a bachelor of divinity from the Pontifical University of St. Patrick.
Recruited...

Reverend Richard A. Kieran was born March 7, 1940 in Dublin, Ireland. He is the son of the late Laurence T. and the late Joan S. Kieran and grew up as one of eight children on their farm in County Louth. He was educated at the De La Salle Brothers School in Ardee and Glenstal Abbey School before entering St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, County Kildare, for seminary and university. He received a bachelor of science from the National University of Ireland and a bachelor of divinity from the Pontifical University of St. Patrick.
Recruited to serve in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Father Kieran was ordained a priest on June 20, 1965, by Archbishop John C. McQuaid of Dublin, Ireland, at St. Patrick's College. He celebrated his golden jubilee in 2015.
His 51 years of priesthood included early years focused on Catholic education and later years as a pastor in six parishes. Throughout all these years, spreading the Gospel through preaching and service and through the development of lay people were his passionate concerns.
Shortly after his ordination, he began teaching at St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, and then was named principal from 1969 to 1973, when he was asked to lead St. Joseph High School, Atlanta, until the spring of 1975. He was Secretary of the Department of Education of the Atlanta Archdiocese for eight years from 1974 until 1982. He also earned a master of arts in education.
During these years, he resided at Holy Cross Church, St. Anthony Church and Sacred Heart Church, Atlanta. He was also chaplain to Our Lady's Association for Exceptional Children and fostered bringing the sacraments of confirmation and first Communion to those with disabilities.
He was named pastor beginning with Holy Family, Marietta; followed by St. Joseph, Athens, from 1983-1987; the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, from 1987-1990; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Atlanta, from 1990-1997; St. Anna, Monroe, from 1997-1999, and St. Michael, Gainesville, in 1999.
In October 1999 he suffered a brain hemorrhage which, following surgery and hospitalization, necessitated an end to his active ministry. He has been in rehabilitative care for the last 17 years.
Throughout the decades, Father Kieran was the mainstay of the Atlanta Cursillo movement, a "short course" in Christianity that he was assigned to attend on his first weekend as a parish priest in 1965. He became the first spiritual director in 1966 and continued until 1983, later returning as a co-leader. He pioneered the Cursillo weekend in Spanish, teaching himself the language in order to hold the weekends. He co-authored the spiritual directors' manual for the National Cursillo Secretariat in 1976 and assisted Episcopal and Lutheran Cursillo teams to form.
Thousands of lay people in the archdiocese have taken part in the renewal weekend and many permanent deacons cite it as pivotal in their subsequent decision to seek ordination.
In 1974 Father Kieran wrote that the "essential elements" of his priestly ministry were simple: discover the potential leaders in a parish; form them in Christ; help them to find a genuine Christian community which will support and encourage them; and send them to transform their environments with the Gospel.
Among the first to celebrate Mass in Spanish in the archdiocese, he was appointed secretary of a committee for the Spanish-speaking apostolate by Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan in November 1977 and coordinated the Hispanic apostolate until 1982, drawing women religious to serve the rapidly growing Spanish-speaking Catholic community in Georgia. He also ministered to Cubans detained in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta.
While he was pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, the Centro Catolico in Chamblee was placed under the care of IHM. This became Our Lady of the Americas Mission. Father Kieran also was asked to visit Colombia, South America, to meet with prospective seminarians for the archdiocese.
In the archdiocese he also served as president of the Atlanta Senate of Priests, as chairman of the archdiocesan evangelization committee and as coordinator of the Renew 2000 program beginning in 1997, leading up to the new millennium. He famously led pilgrimages to the Holy Land for many years to nourish a vital faith and unstintingly spoke of the application of church teaching to contemporary challenges of war and peace and the economy.
He fostered ecumenical relations with other denominations as a pastor. He was president of the Christian Council of Metropolitan Atlanta in 1993-1994 and in 1996 served as chairman of its Advisory Council working to promote greater ecumenical endeavors and Christian witness in the years 1997 through 2000. He was given the Ida M. Patterson Award for Exceptional Personal Ministry by the CCMA in May 2000.

He is survived by his brother Father John Kieran, a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, brothers in Ireland, Brian and Peter; his sisters, Poona in Ireland, and Eileen who lives in Kenya.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to:
Visitation Hospital Foundation - 237 Old Hickory Blvd. Suite 100, Nashville, TN 37221