Popular priest to be remembered

A SPECIAL memorial service is to be held to mark the first anniversary of the death of a Felixstowe priest who died in his church while conducting a funeral.

A SPECIAL memorial service is to be held to mark the first anniversary of the death of a Felixstowe priest who died in his church while conducting a funeral.

Roman Catholic priest Father John McNally died in March last year, leaving his parish in deep shock.

He collapsed while conducting the funeral of 91-year-old Kay Thomson at St Felix Catholic Church, suddenly falling 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.

Parish publicity officer Mark Jones said a Memorial Mass will be held at St Felix in Gainsborough Road on Friday March 14 at 11am - exactly a year ago to the day of Fr McNally's death.


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Monsignor Peter Leeming will be the chief celebrant and several priests from the deanery will be present.

Mr Jones said Fr John, who was 65 and had been parish priest at St Felix and St Cecilia's in Trimley St Mary from 1993 to 2007, touched the lives of hundreds of people and his death had left the Catholic community devastated.

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“Hundreds attended his requiem mass last year to say goodbye, to bid their final, usually tearful, farewell to Father John,” he said.

“There were countless priests and so many people that plasma screens were used to relay the event to the hall next door.

“People stood all around, as persons far outnumbered seats.

“All came together to pray for the repose of the soul of a very popular and energetic priest.

“What emerged was a truly striking, beautiful, and elegant example of Catholic identity in a Suffolk seaside town.”

His body was flown to Ireland where he is now buried in Banagher Cemetery, County Offaly, laid to rest with his mother and father.

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

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

Pay your tributes to Father John McNally on this first anniversary of his death - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk with your special memories of him.

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