Dozens turn out to farewell Father John

SO many people wanted to pay their respects to a much-loved parish priest, the church staging his funeral overflowed.

SO many people wanted to pay their respects to a much-loved parish priest, the church staging his funeral overflowed.

St Felix Roman Catholic Church at Felixstowe was packed for the requiem funeral mass for Father John McNally, who died in the church last week while conducting a funeral.

With the church full of grieving family and friends, the church hall was also brought into action with the mass, celebrated by Bishop Michael Evans, relayed to mourners on screens and speakers.

It was a moving and emotional service, attended by clergy from the town's other churches, and Roman Catholic priests in their robes from around the region.

Priests acted as pallbearers and formed a guard of honour and sang as Fr McNally's coffin left the church.

Hymns included Praise to the Holiest in the Height, Christ Be Beside Me, Soul of My Saviour, and Go Silent Friend to the tune of Danny Boy.

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Fr McNally's body will be flown to Ireland, where he was due to be received into St Rynagh's Church, Banagher, County Offaly, this evening.

The committal will take place at noon tomorrow in Banagher Cemetery, where he will be laid to rest with his mother and father.

Fr McNally, 65, who took up the post as parish priest for St Felix and sister church of St Cecilia's, Trimley St Mary, in 1993, died on March 14 after collapsing while conducting the funeral of 91-year-old Kay Thomson.

He suddenly fell to the floor at the end of the first hymn during the requiem mass and is understood to have hit his head on the altar.

His death has devastated the Catholic community in the town but he also touched the lives of hundreds of other people.

He was loved for his great sense of humour, energy and compassion, always being there to talk to and willing to give advice.

Doug and Jenny Birchall, of Trimley St. Mary, said: “His passing has left our parish with a huge sense of loss, as he was so much a part of our lives - a true Father to us.

“We will remember him very fondly for his wonderful sense of humour and his great capacity for enjoying life, but also his deep and sincere dedication to his vocation and his ministry, giving reassurance and spiritual comfort as well as sound practical advice to those who were troubled.”

Previously he had served at Brandon and Cambridge. He entered the ministry after a career in accountancy.

How will you remember Father McNally? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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