Northern Ireland news

Funeral for west Belfast priest Fr Aidan Denny who was 'a good friend' to many

Mourners gathered at Corpus Christi Church in west Belfast yesterday for the funeral of Fr Aidan Denny Picture: Hugh Russell
Marie Louise McConville

MOURNERS who gathered in west Belfast yesterday for the funeral of a popular priest, heard how he "was concerned for his parishioners" and a "good friend" to many.

Fr Aidan Denny, who was 88, died at the Royal Victoria Hospital surrounded by his family on Saturday, just days after falling ill at home.

The well-known priest, who had officially retired in 1995 but had continued to assist as curate in Corpus Christi parish, had become unwell last Wednesday.

Ordained in 1956, Fr Denny had served in a number of parishes including in Loughguile, Ballymoney, Carrickfergus, Corpus Christi and Holy Trinity in west Belfast and Kilclief in Co Down.

Following his retirement he continued to assist as curate in Corpus Christi parish.

It was during his time that he was assaulted by a youth in the parochial house in an attack that shocked the parish.

In March 2003, Fr Denny, who was then aged 71, let the young man into the house when he asked the priest to hear his confession.

Fr Denny suffered a broken nose and an eye injury in the attack at the hands of the man who also stole his car.

Yesterday, hundreds of mourners gathered for Requiem Mass for Fr Denny at Corpus Christi Church.

The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Anthony Farquhar while the homily was delivered by Bishop Patrick Walsh.

Speaking during the Mass, Bishop Walsh described Fr Denny, who had been in the priesthood for 63 years, as a "good friend" to many.

"Fr Aidan especially was concerned for his parishioners; for those who felt crushed and those for whom the light of faith was wavering," said Bishop Walsh.

"He was very, very close to his people. Close to them in his way of life, which was modest and humble.

"Each one of you here today will have experienced, either personally or as a family, the closeness of Fr Aidan, especially at times of difficulty or distress.

"We pray that as he lived for the Lord and died for the Lord, he will rise with the Lord in glory".

Following the Mass, Fr Denny was laid to rest in Milltown Cemetery.

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