Tributes paid to much-loved Carfin priest, Father Terry Donnelly

Tributes have been paid to a popular priest from Carfin who passed away earlier this month.

Father Terry Donnelly was originally from Barrhead but spent a lot of his time in Carfin as a community leader in the Spiritan house.

Father Terry was born in Barrhead in 1946 and set his sights on becoming a missionary. He was ordained a priest in the Spiritan Order, known as the Holy Ghost Fathers, in his home parish of St. John the Baptist, Barrhead.

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He was sent to Sierra Leone where he became a parish priest in a remote mission station on the island of Bonthe.

Father Terry also served to assist the Bishop in the capital city of Freetown. Working with the poor and disadvantaged he was caught in the trauma of the civil war.

He was fortunate not to be physically injured while others around him lost their lives. Sierra Leone was and remains one of the poorest countries in Africa.

This all took its toll on Terry and he was called home. Once back in the UK, he worked closely with the Voluntary Missionary Movement, who gave opportunities for lay professional people to work overseas.

He spent a few years assisting homeless charity Kairos, established by another Spiritan, Father John Kitchen, in support of homeless people in London.

He also promoted awareness of the needs of poor people internationally and held the portfolio for Justice and Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) representing the Spiritans at a European level.

He was passionate about JPIC and it governed his life’s vision. He became a successful editor of the magazine Missionwide and organised the mission appeal system in parishes which often raised more than 100k annually to be distributed internationally and to train other missionaries.

Terry always responded with a generous heart to any new appointment. He became a community leader in the Spiritan community in Bickley, Kent, which was home for many sick and retired missionaries, and latterly he became a community leader in the Spiritan House in Carfin.

Terry had an enthusiasm for a more flexible style of church, open to different cultures and to young people. He liked to be a bit different and wasn’t comfortable with too much formality. Father Terry will be greatly missed.

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