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Fr Tom Keegan dies aged 92, to be remembered at livestreamed vigil tonight and funeral tomorrow

Vale: Fr Tom Keegan celebrating his 90th birthday at Holy Name parish in Toowoomba in 2018.

IRISH priest Fr Tom Keegan, who sailed from Ireland in 1953 to minister in Toowoomba diocese, has died aged 92 on July 25.

A vigil service will be held tonight, July 30, at 7pm and a funeral tomorrow, July 31, at 10.30am.

Both services will be held at St Patrick’s Cathedral and livestreamed from Toowoomba diocese website, YouTube and Facebook.

Fr Keegan, who had served in many parishes across Toowoomba diocese, had been a familiar face for churchgoers for more than 60 years. 

In a story for The Catholic Leader on his 90th birthday, Fr Keegan’s family members sent the travel journal he had kept during his journey from Ireland to Australia in 1953.

“Though 12,000 miles (19,300km) may divide us my thoughts will constantly fly back to the old folks at home,” he wrote in November 1953 aboard the ship Otranto.

Fr Keegan said his first time being made parish priest in Toowoomba diocese landed him a parish “twice the size of Ireland”.

“Whatever parish I went to, I stayed there; I didn’t gallivant, I stuck to my job,” he said.

And the “mob” as he called his congregation, stuck by him too.

“It’s easy to get to know the mob,” Fr Keegan said.

“Like most priests, I was sent around different parishes, and that’s the way I was able to get to know the whole Diocese of Toowoomba.

“It didn’t matter what parish I went to, I’d always meet somebody who could tell me that I did their marriage twenty years ago.”

Fr Keegan was predeceased by his brothers Sean Keegan, Br Frank Keegan, sisters Nan Shine, Dill Ward, Ita Dunning and Bridie Lynam.

He is survived by his sisters Mercy Sister Gemma at the Convent of Mercy, Tullamore, and Poor Servant Sister Teresa at Maryfield Nursing Home, Chapelizod, his sister-in-law Mary Keegan, all his nieces, nephews and their families, who adored him.

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