Northern Ireland news

Holy anointing oil stolen from a priest's car following the All Ireland final

Fr Gary Donegan said he hopes somebody will find it and return it to Donnybrook Garda Station. Picture by Hugh Russell

HOLY anointing oil, used during a parish's "most turbulent times" was stolen from a priest's car following the All Ireland final.

Fr Gary Donegan, best known for his work at Holy Cross in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast, said he has had the sick oils for 28 years and used it to anoint his grandparents and baby nephew.

He said the special oil has "an awful lot of sentimentality and an awful lot of emotion attached" as he appealed for its return.

The Passionist priest, who is a fixture around Croke Park at All Ireland finals, parked his car outside a friends house in a quiet residential near Herbert Park in Dublin after the match.

The next morning he found the the boot of the vehicle looking "very disturbed", with his Mass kit open and "altar bread lying about".

The oil, in three silver containers in a black pouch in his glove box had been stolen along with a relic of St Charles.

His coat, sunglasses, a jersey, new trainers and cuff links were also missing, but his medication was still there.

He recalled using it to anoint a young man who died by suicide at the church tower and another who died during riots.

Fr Donegan said he hopes somebody will find it and return it to Donnybrook Garda Station.

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