Nation’s new priest among three deaths in Scottish clergy
Fr Graham Turner, Scotland’s newest priest, passed away peacefully on Monday, a week after he had been ordained in hospital for St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese by Cardinal Keith O’Brien.
Parishioners of St Andrews and Edinburgh are also mourning the deaths of two other priests in the archdiocese last weekend, Fr David Barr and Fr Patrick Kelly.
“Please remember these, our brother priests, in your prayers—remembering also their families and friends and their former parishioners,” Cardinal O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, urged Catholics in his archdiocese and in Scotland this week.
Cardinal O’Brien ordained Fr Turner (above), 48, on Easter Monday after his treatment for leukaemia failed. The ordination of the deacon of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh took place in Salford Royal chapel in Greater Manchester in front of Fr Turner’s parents, brother and sister and friends in the clergy including Mgr Michael Regan, St Mary’s Cathedral administrator.
When the cardinal visited the new priest again last Friday he noticed that the hospital staff had decorated Fr Turner’s room with the congratulation cards he had received and photographs from the ordination ceremony itself, taken by the chaplains, which gave him comfort. However, Fr Turner’s condition remained critical.
“The hospital called in his parents at 3.45am [on Monday] and he was given the sacraments,” Cardinal O’Brien said. “His parents, brother and sister were there when he died peacefully at 7.15am.”
“It was good that he achieved the end of his journey,” Mgr Regan added. “He had finished all his studies, it was a completion of all that he achieved.”
Following a funeral in his hometown of Bolton, Fr Turner’s body will be brought to St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh next Tuesday.
The cardinal also expressed his sorrow at learning of the death of Fr David Barr, 69, parish priest of St Margaret’s, Dunfermline, who died unexpectedly last Friday.
The cardinal appointed Fr Barr (above right) as parish priest at St Margaret’s in 1982.
“He will indeed be a great miss, not only to the people of the parish of St Margaret’s, Dunfermline, but to the priests and people of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh,” the cardinal said.
There was further sad news for the archdiocese with the death of retired priest Fr Patrick Kelly 77, on Sunday.
Fr Kelly was staying at St Joseph’s House in Edinburgh, the home of the Little Sisters of the Poor community in the city at the time of his death.
Prior to joining the community of the Little Sisters of the Poor, he was cared for at New Mills, near Dunfermline, and was described as ‘a very gracious, charming and generous man, who had a great sense of humour.’
As the SCO went to press, Fr Barr’s body was to be received into St Margaret’s on Thursday evening and his funeral Mass and burial was to take place at St Margaret’s this morning at 11.30am.
Fr Kelly’s body will be received into Holy Name Church, Oakley, next Tuesday at 7pm and his funeral Mass and burial will take place there the following midday.
Cardinal O’Brien will attend Fr Turner’s funeral Mass at St John’s, Bolton (his home parish), on Monday April 23 at 12 noon before the late priest’s body is brought to St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh for Mass the following day at 12.45pm.
“I know that you will remember these three priests in your prayers—and through your attendance at the reception of their remains or at their funeral Masses,” Cardinal O’Brien said.
Pic: Paul McSherry