Northern Ireland news

Funeral takes place of `committed Redemptorist' Fr Phil Dunlea

The funeral of Fr Phil Dunlea at Clonard Monastery Picture Mal McCann.
Marie Louise McConville

Mourners gathered in west Belfast today for the funeral of a "committed Redemptorist" who passed away earlier this week just minutes before he was due to celebrate Mass.

Fr Phil Dunlea, who was originally from Cork but had been based at Clonard Monastery for the past 17 years, passed away on Tuesday morning.

The 84-year-old had been making coffee for the Redemptorist community at around 6.45am, just before he was due to say 7am Mass, when he collapsed and died in a small dining room in the monastery.

Ordained in January 1962, Fr Dunlea joined Clonard in 2002 having previously been based at St Gerard’s on the Antrim Road where he was a curate for nine years.

During his time at Clonard, Fr Dunlea had been part of the chaplaincy team at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Fr Phil Dunlea passed away on Tuesday morning at Clonard Monastery

Hundreds of mourners packed Clonard Church for Requiem Mass for Fr Phil Dunlea

The Mass was celebrated by Redemptorist Provincial, Fr Dan Baragry and among those in attendance was Bishop Noel Treanor and Bishop Anthony Farquhar.

Speaking during the Mass, Fr Peter Burns, Rector of Clonard, told those gathered that Fr Dunlea had "lived a full life and he lived it to the end" adding that prayer and Christian meditation had been "the foundation of his life and his ministry".

The Rector said Fr Dunlea had had a "pastoral heart" and was "

The funeral of Fr Phil Dunlea at Clonard Monastery Picture Mal McCann.
most at home in parish ministry and as a hospital chaplain because that's where he had immediate pastoral contact with individuals and friends".

"It was wonderful that he was able to live so fully and right to the end," he said.

Fr Dunlea was laid to rest in Milltown Cemetery.

The funeral of Fr Phil Dunlea at Clonard Monastery Picture Mal McCann.

The funeral of Fr Phil Dunlea at Clonard Monastery Picture Mal McCann.

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