CENTERVILLE, Mass. — Father Patrick Tarrant died on June 28, at the age of 86.
He was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1929, the first of eight children born to hard-working parents, Nicholas and Hannah Tarrant.
By his own account, Father Tarrant knew he wanted to be a priest when he was five years old. That vocational dream became a reality when he graduated from and was ordained at St. Patrick’s College, Thurles, County Tipperary in 1953.
To many people on Cape Cod, Father Tarrant was “our priest,” but in reality, he was a priest of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Mont. for 40 years. His destination from Ireland to Montana happened shortly after his ordination when a bishop from Montana met with the newly-ordained priests and asked for volunteers to serve his diocese in the U.S. Three priests volunteered, one of whom was Father Tarrant (who immediately went to the library to find Montana).
Father Tarrant’s assignments in Montana included parishes in Forsyth, Hysham, Sumatra, Pompey’s Pillar, Custer, Billings, Great Falls, and Plentywood. Additionally, he was diocesan director of Education in Billings, Mont., and developed an adult education center in Billings with Gonzaga University of Spokane, Wash. During these years Father managed to earn three masters’ degrees from the University of San Francisco: in theology, catechetics, and educational administration.
With retirement in mind, Father Tarrant became certified in Clinical Pastoral Education, preparing him for pastoral care to the sick. He completed a program at Interfaith, Providence, R.I. and was hired by the Grey Nuns of Montreal to serve one of their health-care sites in Cambridge, (Youville Hospital). He served for five years and retired due to health concerns.
Since Father Tarrant was very familiar with Cape Cod, having used it as a resting point on his way home to Ireland for family visits, he settled here, recuperated and soon made acquaintances with local pastors who were eager for his involvement.
He assisted in a number of churches, including Our Lady of the Cape, Brewster; St. Pius X, South Yarmouth; Our Lady of the Isle, Nantucket; Our Lady of Victory, Centerville; Our Lady of Assumption, Osterville; and most notably at Our Lady of Hope, West Barnstable (mission Church of Our Lady of Victory). In addition, he helped with two programs he respected as examples of wonderful layperson volunteering, namely the Cape Cod prison ministry and St. Clare’s House in Hyannis. He also left us with a beautiful hymn which he wrote in 1985 while in Montana: “The One Who Owns the Water.” Our Lady of Victory assisted Father Tarrant in preparing it for recording. It is now in the form of a CD, and has been donated to the cancer support program at Our Lady of Victory. Proceeds from the sale of the CD are used to support this cancer support program.
Father Patrick was predeceased by his parents Nicholas and Hannah, his brothers Nicholas and Billy and brother-in-law Timothy Daly. He presently leaves behind his sisters: Rita Daly, Ann McAuliffe and her husband Jerry, Betty O’Connor and her husband Thomas; and his brothers John Tarrant and his wife Bernadette, Aiden Tarrant and his wife Sheila, his sister-in-law Kittie Tarrant (all living in Ireland); and his devout friend and care-taker, June McLaughlin. There are many nieces and nephews in Ireland, other countries and the United States all of whom love their “Uncle Paddy.”
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated July 2 at Our Lady of Victory Church. Internment followed at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery.
Donations in Father Tarrant’s name may be made to Our Lady of Victory Parish, 230 South Main Street, Centerville, Mass. 02632, for its cancer support program and/or to Hope Hospice, 765 Attucks Lane, Hyannis, Mass. 02601.