Tributes to former Ballinderry and Dungannon priest Fr Terence Kelly

The late Very Rev. Father Terence Kelly
The late Very Rev. Father Terence Kelly

Tributes have been paid to a former Parish priest of Ballinderry who passed away recently at a nursing home in Co. Armagh.

The Very Rev. Father Terence Kelly, 79, was laid to rest on Wednesday, January 8 following requiem mass in St Colmcille’s Church, Knockagoney.

Father Kelly served as Parish Priest in Ballinderry for fourteen years, from 1994-2008 before he retired and became Pastor Emeritas in 2008 residing in Ballinderry.

Before that he served as Curate in Dungannon Parish from 1966-1988, before moving to Tandragee in 1988 where he was Parish Priest for six years.

He was the beloved brother of Sr Joanne, May Doherty, the late James and the late Brian.

Fr. Kelly studied in his youth at St Patrick’s College, Armagh before moving on to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he completed his studies to become a priest and was ordained in June 1959.

Requiem mass for Father Kelly was celebrated by Archbishop Eamon Martin who described him as “a deeply pastoral man with great compassion for his people.”

During his homily, Archbishop Eamon told the congregation Fr Terence Kelly was “a faithful priest” who he greatly admired for his dedication to the priesthood.

He said: “Almost 55 years of ministry. I haven’t even got half that under my belt! I can only stand back in admiration at Fr Terry’s dedication and express great gratitude to God from the people, priests and bishops of the Archdiocese for his tremendous generosity. Over those 55 years he ministered through the darkest and most harrowing days of the troubles; he suffered generally from poor health and for medical reasons was unable to drive since October 1978; and he lived through very troublesome and shameful times for the Church. But he had three characteristics which I believe ‘anchored’ his priesthood in its solid foundations.

“Fr Terry was also a caring mentor to many young priests who worked with him. His friends and family will miss him, with his stories and chat. He enjoyed a simple life with his family, friends, dogs and favourite TV programmes.”