Peace builder, Fr Reynolds 'oozed compassion and mercy'

Isabel McCartney lights a candle at Clonard in remembrance of Fr Gerry Reynolds who passed away on Monday. Picture by Mal McCann.
Marie Louise McConville

A STEADY stream of parishioners visited Clonard Monastery in west Belfast yesterday to take time to remember Fr Gerry Reynolds, in the hours after the news of his sudden death.

While many lit candles in memory of the popular Redemptorist, others simply sat down in the calming surrounds of church to reflect and say a prayer for the Co Limerick-born cleric.

Some parishioners arriving at the church expressed shock at the news, commenting that Fr Reynolds had only said Mass at Clonard just days before his death.

Martine Looney, from Belfast, said she would remember Fr Reynolds as a man who "represented Christ".

"He was humble and gentle," she said.

"He had the heart of Christ. He just oozed compassion and mercy".

She added: "He did so much good for peace. He was a bridge-builder. He reached out to the community. He had a heart for all denominations. He loved his own Catholic faith".

Isabel McCartney, from Andersonstown, described the cleric as a "lovely priest".

"He had a lovely way about him," she said.

"He would have gone out of his way to do something for you. No matter what it was, you could have talked to him about it".

Mrs McCartney said news of Fr Reynolds' passing was "a shock" because he had been active around Clonard recently.

"Without him, I don't know where we would be," she said.

Bernie McCluskey, from Belfast, described the work for peace carried out by Fr Reynolds as "absolutely wonderful".

"He was a family friend. He was all into cross-community," she said.

"We wouldn't be in the position we are if it wasn't for him. He was just a wonderful person who will be sorely missed".


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