Eamonn Dundon, class 1937
Eamonn (front left) in 1966 as Australian National Director, Stella Maris Seafarer's Centre
The parish church of St. Philip Neri in Sailors Bay Road, Northridge in Sydney, Australia, was packed on January 29th with Bishops, Priests and people saying goodbye to Monsignor Eamonn Dundon. Although they were sad at the farewell, they were glad to have known the gentle warm Irishman who did not rely on the dignity of his monsignorship, but lived out his love for the underdog!
Eamonn was one of four brothers. Dermot, Patrick and Seamus being the others who came to the College during the 1930's. On leaving Knock. Eamonn entered the seminary of Holy Cross College, Clonliffe and did his B.A. at U.C.D. He then applied for and received the bursary being offered for the Archdiocese of Sydney. He transferred to St. Patrick's College, Carlow for his studies in theology. Asked in later vears why he applied for Sydney. Eamonn usually dismissed the question by saying it was the bursary available, but on one occasion he answered "it seemed a long way". It would seem that Eamonn in his youthful enthusiasm was mindful of the gospel invitation to carry the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth, and Australia seemed to fit the bill in this regard!
Eamonn was ordained a priest in Carlow on June 3rd. 1944. Because of the war he could not travel to Australia and so he spent 18 months in the parish of St. Ann in the Diocese of Lancaster, England. He finally arrived in Sydney in May 1946. He spent 18 months in the parish of Flemington and then applied to go with the Australian mission to Japan. At the end of the war, Japan was in a desperate state. The Church had also suffered badly, and Eamonn joined a group of Australian priests who went there to help reestablish it. For almost six years Eamonn was stationed in Osaka. It was a hard time, and the health of most of the priests suffered. On his return to Australia, he was an assistant at St. Mary's Cathedral for 12 months, but then went for three years to another war-ravaged mission, Singapore. Between 1963 and 1968 Eamonn was administrator of the Cathedral. This came to an abrupt end when he suffered a severe heart attack.
In 1968 Eamonn was appointed parish priest of Northbridge. During the 18 years he spent in this position he was the founding chairman of the Charitable Works Fund, and he was the Episcopal Vicar in charge of the Northern Region. This was a most demanding job. for now Eamonn was showing signs of declining health. Nevertheless, he continued in this work until a new bishop was appointed. Looking at a life which involved so many diverse works and so many achievements the question must inevitably be asked "what motivated Monsignor Eamonn Dundon?" From some of the things he said, and from his work, we may glean some glimpse of what motivated him. The gospel message to bring the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth was always a strong motivating force in Eamonn. It also combined with another facet of his character, an affinity for the underdog, the down and out. He could make any individual or group believe that they were the most special friends he had. This special caring regard was with Eamonn totally genuine.
He died on the Feast of St. Francis De Sales, who used to say constantly to his priests
"If you preach with love, you will preach effectively"
This Eamonn always did.
To his brothers, we in the College extend our deepest sympathy.
Requiescat in Pace