Father Bernard Eager, who served as parish priest of St Catherine of Siena, Lowton for over 24 years, died on Monday 29 June at St John’s House (De La Salle Brothers), St Helens aged 85 years. He was in the 61st year of his priesthood.
Bernard Joseph Eager was born on 14 October 1934 in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, the son of Roland and Ellen Eager. He received his early education at St Michael’s, Dun Laoghaire and St Bede’s, Widnes before training for the priesthood at St Joseph’s College, Upholland. He was ordained to the priesthood in the college chapel by Archbishop John Carmel Heenan on 11 June 1960.
Following ordination he was appointed as assistant to Father Winder at St Alphonsus, Liverpool. He served there until the early part of 1965, when he was forced through ill-health to relinquish his parish duties. In November of that year he returned to parish ministry as assistant to Canon Robert Meagher, and subsequently Canon Francis Ripley, at St Oswald’s, Ashton-in-Makerfield. His lengthy curacy at Ashton was brought to an abrupt end by another bout of ill-health in the early part of 1978. Following his recovery he became chaplain to the Sisters of Notre Dame at Lancaster House, Parbold in June 1978 and served the community faithfully until March 1985.
He was then asked to succeed Father John Connolly as parish priest of St Catherine’s, Lowton. This was to be his one-and-only appointment as parish priest. His long tenure in the parish was marked by his devotion to his parishioners. He also took on the additional responsibility of St Lewis’, Croft in January 2006. He retired from active ministry to live in Rainford in September 2009 but continued to celebrate Mass for the sisters at Parbold on many occasions.
His Funeral Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon on Wednesday 8 July at Corpus Christi, Rainford prior to burial at Widnes Cemetery.