Family & Parenting

Sad to see "wonderful" Fr Noel leave Clonard

Fr Noel Kehoe, who has been Rector of Clonard for the past four years, is to move to a new role in Dundalk. Picture: Mal McCann
Marie Louise McConville

I'm not really a fan of change.

I like feeling settled and I like routine.

When change occurs it caused me anxiety and leaves me feeling unsettled.

But alas, that's the thing about change, it's the only constant in life.

This week, change hit home with the news that one of west Belfast's most loved and respected priests is to move to pastures new.

Fr Noel Kehoe took up the role of Rector of Clonard in 2015 but now, the Redemptorist Provincial Council has decided his skills are needed elsewhere.

To say I am disappointed to lose Fr Noel is really an understatement.

Having met Fr Noel for the first time four years ago when he took up the role, I was immediately drawn in by his warmth, kindness and just the special way he had with people.

Aside from dealing with him in a professional basis, I got to know Fr Noel on a personal basis.

In March 2016, when I was heavily pregnant with James, issues arose which meant I had to be taken into hospital immediately for a section.

Instantly, everything was thrown up in the air however on my way to hospital, I made sure to stop by Clonard to see my friend, St Gerard Majella, with whom I have a very close relationship.

While we were there, Fr Noel also made time for us and took us aside to bless me and bump.

Two days later, I received a text from Fr Noel enquiring about our new arrival, who unfortunately, had been taken to the high dependency unit and later, the neo-natal unit.

When I found myself experiencing my darkest hour, frantic with worry and really at my wits end, I found Fr Noel on the other end of my phone supporting me, talking to me and reminding how important keeping the faith is.

The whole time James was in hospital, I heard from Fr Noel regularly, sometimes just a short text to check in, reminding me he was offering prayers.

I will always be indebted to Fr Noel for the interest in showed in me during that stressful time.

His caring words lifted my heart at a time when a heaviness had all but consumed it.

And now, we are to lose this wonderful man to St Joseph's Parish in Dundalk, where he is to take up the role of Rector and Administrator.

Fr Peter Burns is to become the new Rector of Clonard.

Fr Noel, we wish you all the best in your new role and be assured our hearts are heavy to see you go.

Fr Burns, we look forward to welcoming you but just know, you have some very big shoes to fill.

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Great news this week after my favourite pop princess, Taylor Swift finally returned to the music scene, releasing a new single - the first new music in two years.

The popular 29-year-old singer gave fans a first listen to her new song, ME!, which features Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, on You Tube.

The colourful video boasts pastel shades, butterflies, a snake, gorgeous fashion and a nod to Mary Poppins.

Having watched and listened, I'm loving the new material and you're right Taylor - you "Can't spell awesome without ME!"

Welcome back.

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Competition

Summer is almost here, so how do you feel winning tickets for a music festival in Co Down to help get you in the mood?

Harmony Live, supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council, has unveiled an exciting line-up for this year's festival, which will take place in the Holywood Rugby Grounds from May 31 until June 2.

Topping the festival bill this year are iconic Welsh rockers, Feeder, New Yorkers Fun Lovin' Criminals, and Dublin icons Aslan.

Also playing during the three-day event are Co Down rock band, The Four of Us, Alabama 3 (acoustic), Ciaran Lavery, Dea Matrona, Villiers & The Villains and The Alexanders.

I have three pairs of tickets for Harmony Live for Saturday, June 1 - when Feeder, The Fun Lovin' Criminals and Dea Matrona will take to the stage - to give away.

If you fancy winning a pair, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to competitions@irishnews.com

Closing date for entries is 12Noon on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.

(Q) At which venue in Holywood is Harmony Live taking place this year?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

Further information and tickets for the event are available athe festival check out www.harmonyholywood.co.uk

The winners of The Feral Detective competition are Anne McKenna, from Draperstown, Teresa Smith, from Strabane, Patrick Higgins, from Belfast, Patricia O'Callaghan, from Belfast, and John McCloskey, from Drumahoe

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