Fr. Simon O’Byrne, OFM, died earlier this month, Requiescat in Pace.
Fr. O’Byrne was an unstinting defender of life from conception to natural death, and he is greatly missed. Known as ‘the teenagers’ priest’, he was a staunch supporter of young people, and in the 1960s he was largely responsible for the successes of the Catholic Youth Crusade which attracted crowds of nearly 20,000 young people to rallies at Knock Shrine in Co. Mayo. Fr. O’Byrne constantly promoted and upheld traditional Catholic values and he was a strong opponent of the permissive and so-called liberal society that was starting to manifest itself in Ireland at that time.
He spoke at Knock in 1979, where he criticised the ‘advocates of the permissive society’ for promoting abortion, euthanasia, divorce, drug-pushing, pornography, etc.
Fr. O’Byrne was also the author of a number of books and booklets on many aspects of life. A number of the booklets that he wrote are still available in religious bookshops at very reasonable prices, although one of his books, Fatima in Focus, is described as being ‘an extremely rare publication’, attracting asking prices of £130, and £395, on internet bookselling sites!Long live priests like Fr. O’Byrne