Northern Ireland

Tributes to west Belfast priest who served as an altar boy in first Clonard Novena 80 years ago

Clonard Monastery: PICTURE MAL MCCANN

The funeral of a retired priest who was once an altar boy in the first ever Clonard Novena 80 years ago, will take place in Belfast on Saturday.

Originally from west Belfast, Fr Clement Marshall served in the Diocese of Portsmouth until his retirement and spent his final years in Nazareth Care Village in Belfast, where he passed away peacefully on Wednesday.

His career in the church was hinted at in June 1943, where as an altar boy he took part in the first ever Novena at Clonard Monastery.

Seventy years later, he would reunite with several of his fellow altar boys but this time leading one of the Novena services as a priest.

The tradition had originally been started by the US Redemptorist priest Fr Matthew Meighan, who was stationed in Belfast as chaplain to US troops during the Second World War.

Among several family tributes, his niece Claire wrote: “Your life was one of kindly deeds, a helping hand to others, sincere and true in heart and mind, beauitiful memories left behind.”

A requiem Mass will be held at St Anne’s Church in Finaghy at 10am on Saturday, followed by burial in Milltown Cemetery.