Parish to get new priest

A PARISH which was devastated when their priest collapsed and died while conducting a funeral received some good news today as a new man was appointed to lead their ministry.

A PARISH which was devastated when their priest collapsed and died while conducting a funeral received some good news today as a new man was appointed to lead their ministry.

It was five weeks ago that Father John McNally, 65, parish priest for St Felix, Felixstowe, and sister church of St Cecilia's, Trimley St Mary, died after falling to the floor at the end of the first hymn during the requiem mass for 91-year-old Kay Thomson.

Tributes poured in from all over the world as the Evening Star set up an on-line Book of Condolence for Fr McNally, who was loved throughout the community at the seaside town - both among the Roman Catholics and the wider population, touching the lives of hundreds of people.

Today St Felix was told the Right Reverend Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia, has appointed Father David Hennessey, 55, as the new priest for the parish.

The news has been greeted with great joy and enthusiasm from parishioners and also the wider community.

Bishop Michael had previously indicated to the parish following the death of Fr McNally that he was committed to finding the right person for the job.

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A spokesman for St Felix Parish said: “Following the sudden death of our dear friend Father John, we have been ably served by priests from within the Deanery for which we are all eternally grateful.

“Their dedicated support has been of great comfort and we wholeheartedly thank them for this.

“We can now rejoice in the good news that Fr David will be joining us and warmly welcome his arrival. We are looking forward to getting to know the newest member of our parish family.”

St Felix was packed for the funeral of Fr McNally last month - so many people the church hall had to used and fitted with screens and speakers.

Fr McNally, who previously had served at Brandon and Cambridge and entered the ministry after a career in accountancy, was remembered for his wonderful sense of humour and great capacity for enjoying life, and his deep and sincere dedication to his vocation and ministry, giving reassurance and spiritual comfort as well as sound practical advice to those who were troubled.

His body was flown to Ireland to be laid to rest in Banagher Cemetery with his mother and father.

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