The Mass of thanksgiving for the life of Fr Ned Rocks CSsR, took place last Thursday at St Joseph’s Redemptorist Church Dundalk.
The Mass was celebrated by Fr Michael Kelleher,head of the Redemptorist community in Ireland, was chief celebrant at the Mass and the homily was given by Fr Michael Cusack Adm St Joseph’s Dundalk.
Fr Cusack said Fr Ned Rocks was a very proud Dundalk man who had been a Redemptorist for 68 years, and was ordained 60 years ago. He was 90 years of age when he died peacefully at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, having lived a life dedicated to the service of others.
He was born in 1925 and ordained in Galway in 1953. He spent over 40 years working as a Redemptorist priest in the Philippines. He was son of James Rocks who had a popular pork butcher’s shop in Park Street. His mother was Annie McAlester.
The McAlesters were closely associated with the Redemptorist monastery that had started in Park Street in the 1870s. Fr. Rocks once told Peter Kavanagh, former editor of The Democrat, that his grandfather Ned McAlester, who lived beside the monastery, and was one of the leading livestock dealers in Dundalk, had gone around the fairs and markets of Ireland collecting money to help the Redemptorists buy the land where St Joseph’s now stands.
In recent years he was a well known figure, seated beside the High Altar, in St Joseph’s Church during the 9.30 Sunday Mass and always went around afterwards to greet old friends and neighbours.
Fr Cusack said Fr Ned was a private person, but when people got to know him, they found a genuine spirit.
He referred to a book found among his possessions which was opened at a page with a quote from St Augustine:
“When I am working I am serving God, when I am resting I am serving God, when I am asleep I am serving God. When am I not serving God?”
Fr Ned is survived by sister Mary McDermott and was predeceased by brothers Patrick, Michael and Jim and sister Veronica Goss.
Burial was at St Patrick’s cemetery Dowdallshill.