Fr Vivian Ferran: Tyrone man devoted four decades to missions in Argentina
FR Vivian Ferran spent his entire ministry as a missionary priest in Argentina.
The Tyrone man was first sent out by the Pallottine order 40 years ago and quickly came to love the country, its people and his work.
Intelligent but down to earth, with a love of heavy metal music and a wicked sense of humour, Fr Ferran got on well with everyone he encountered.
He returned regularly to his native Dungannon and was often seen strolling up the street casually dressed in jeans, black leather waistcoat and cowboy boots.
He also continued to follow the fortunes of the county GAA team and his beloved Manchester United, as well as being an ardent supporter of his local Argentine team, Boca Juniors, whose most famous player was Diego Maradona.
However, he considered South America his home and was laid to rest there last week in accordance with his wishes.
Born in 1953, Vivian grew up in 'the prefabs' in Ann Street and the Ballygawley Road estate in Dungannon.
He was a bright student at both the Presentation Brothers Primary School and St Patrick's Academy in the town.
He knew from a young age that he wanted to serve as a priest in the missions and immediately joined the Society of the Catholic Apostolate - known as the Pallottines after their 19th century founder St Vincent Pallotti - in Thurles, Co Tipperary.
He was ordained in 1977 and Argentina was his first and only posting.
Fr Vivian was initially stationed in the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary, Castelar, an expanding town west of Buenos Aires.
There he was extremely popular and worked well with the young people of the area.
He took over the outstation church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima and built the first stages of the present parish church.
He also was responsible for adding new classrooms to the school and received much-needed financial support for these projects from his family and friends in Dungannon.
From Castelar Fr Vivian moved to St Patrick’s Church, Belgrano in Buenos Aires, as parish priest. He started a scout group and worked in primary education.
He was then appointed parish priest in Suipacha, a large sprawling country parish west of Buenos Aires, and spent 15 very happy and fulfilled years there before returning to St Patrick’s in the capital in 2016.
Fr Vivian died unexpectedly of a heart attack on August 31 in the community house in San Patricio, Belgrano. He was 64.
He was buried in the Pallottine plot in the cemetery at Mercedes.
He is survived by his mother Patricia, brother Declan, sisters Antoinette, Odette and Finvolla and by his extended family in Dungannon and Argentina.