Father Donal O’Sullivan, who served as a World War I chaplain and who was killed in the first week of the Battle of the Somme on 5 July 1916 while ministering to the wounded, is being remembered and prayed for at Masses across the Diocese of Kerry today. Bishop Ray Browne, Bishop of Kerry, has asked that prayers would also be offered for world peace and for people everywhere who serve in the army of their country.
Father Donal O’Sullivan was born at 6 High Street in Killarney and was aged just 26 when he was killed. He was educated at the Monastery National School, Saint Brendan’s College in Killarney and Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and he was ordained to the priesthood in June 1914. He taught in Saint Brendan’s College for eighteen months prior to volunteering as a chaplain in WWI where he served as chaplain to the 7th Brigade.
Father O’Sullivan was killed by a shell, which exploded beside him as he was giving the Last Rites to a wounded soldier. His chalice, which his family had presented to him on his ordination and which he had taken with him to the war, was returned to his family. It had stayed in possession of his family who had hoped that a vocation would arise from among them and when that did not happen it was passed into the care of the office for the Year of Priests and then subsequently to Saint Joseph’s Young Priests Society. The chalice and Father Donal’s story is being used to promote vocations to priesthood.