Fr Denis Faul was born 14 August 1932 in the village of Louth in County Louth. He studied in St Mary’s College, Dundalk, 1943-45, St Patrick’s College, Armagh, 1945-49, and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, 1949-56. He was ordained to the priesthood 17 June 1956 and then he studied theology at the Gregorian University in Rome for a year where he graduated with Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL).
In 1958, he was appointed to St Patrick’s Boys’ Academy, Dungannon, where he taught Latin and religion. He later became President of the college on 1 January 1983, a position he held until his retirement from teaching in September 1998. He was then appointed Parish Priest in Termonmaguirc 1998-2006. He was made a Prelate of Honour of His Holiness (Monseigneur) on 21 April 1995. He died 21 June 2006. His funeral mass was held in St Colmcille’s church Carrickmore and he is buried in the adjoining cemetery.
The following is taken from the Homily by Bishop Gerard Clifford, Auxiliary Archbishop of Armagh, at the funeral mass
A hunger for justice, for peace, for reconciliation was the driving force behind the life of Denis Faul. Over thirty years he was a prophetic voice for the Catholic community in Northern Ireland. He was the voice for the voiceless, the friend of the repressed. He saw the injustices in society. He was involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s; he condemned violence from whatever quarter. He spoke out courageously about the abuse of internees and collaborated with many other, particularly with Monsignor Raymond Murray, and the late Fr Brian Brady and Sr Sarah Clarke in forming an ad hoc network of support for those in distress. This group of social campaigners exercised every sinew in defence of those oppressed and produced a stream of publications to document human rights abuse and individual violations of civil and political rights. Fr. Faul and Fr Murray’s booklet, ‘The Birmingham Framework,’ was seminal in bringing attention nationally and internationally to the miscarriage of justices on behalf of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and others Irish prisoners they believed to have been wrongly imprisoned.
In 1981 he played a pivotal role in the brokering of an end to the hunger strikes.He fought fearlessly on behalf of victims of violence no matter what the source. He is remembered as the priest who exposed the injustice of violence. He condemned murder repeatedly.
Later he addressed the plight of those exiled from the community by various groups and forces. In particular he campaigned on behalf of the ‘disappeared’, those who had been abducted and whose bodies had never been found.
But Fr Faul was more than a campaigner. He was a friend and support to anyone in grief. Denis Faul knew what it was to mourn for those suffering. His name was a household name in many families throughout Northern Ireland. He published his name and telephone number for people to make contact with him when needed. It was a phone number that was well known. He walked behind many coffins, grieving with people and sat patiently with families torn apart by the death of a loved one. Today many people are grateful to him for all of that.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers they shall be called sons of God.’
For some thirty years Denis Faul was the voice for justice in society. He stood up for what be believed in. He was relentless in the pursuit of justice and human rights. Denis Faul can justly be called a ‘son’ of God.