Community ‘overwhelmed’ with grief after sudden death of ‘Good Shepherd’ Fr Tony Corr

Family, parishioners, friends and colleages of Fr Tony Corr are ‘overwhelmed by his loss’, said Archbishop Eamon Martin.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:50 pm
Fr Tony Corr

Speaking at his funeral today (Friday) Archbishop Martin said they gathered ‘in great sadness, shocked still by the suddenness of Tony’s death’.

Described by his good friend Canon Liam Stevenson as a ‘Good Shepherd’ during his 27 years in the priesthood, the Very Rev Tony Corr was later buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Derrymacash.

Born in Lurgan, 1963, Fr Tony attended primary schools in Portadown and Craigavon before completing his second-level education at Lismore Comprehensive College, Craigavon.

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Fr Tony Corr

After several years in employment, he studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Thurles, and was ordained in 1994. He served as curate in several parishes across the diocese including Warrenpoint, Clonduff and Newry with his longest appointment being in Seapatrick (Banbridge) from 2000 to 2012.

He was appointed parish priest of Aghaderg and Donaghmore parishes in 2016 and was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese in 2018.

Archbiship Martin said: “We have much to be thankful for in Fr Tony, in his life and in his ministry. His life has only changed. It is not ended. As the body of his earthly dwelling lies now here before us, we know that he is gaining a heavenly dwelling place with God.”

He spoke of how Fr Tony had many families, his own family, his parishioners, his colleagues and friends.

“They are so overwhelmed by his loss. The family of his brother priests and Bishop John and Bishop Philip and myself. We feel we have lost a member of our family. And those friends of his who have walked with him through life and who will really miss him. Through our sadness we are here also to give thanks. We are a people of hope. Yes we are shocked, yes we are saddened but we are hopeful that somewhere in the midst of this confusion that God has his hand on the reigns. He is welcoming Tony to another phase in his life.”

Canon Liam Stevenson said: “So many people are hurting through grief following the sudden death of Fr Tony on Sunday morning. He was so well known, firstly by his own family and secondly by all the friends he made with so many people in the parishes in which he served in our Diocese of Dromore.

“I was fortunate to work with him here in this Parish of St Patrick in Banbridge for 12 years. We were each appointed to this parish in the diocesan changes of June 2000 by Bishop McAreavey. Fr Tony came to Banbridge somewhat relunctantly after having worked for four years in Hilltown and Cabra and two years previously in Warrenpoint.

“He often talked to me about the friends he had made in both parishes and especially how happy he had been in Hilltown working with the late Canon Tony Davies.

“Soon however he began to immerse himself into the pastoral work of this large growing parish and his chaplaincy in St Mary’s Primary School. He loved working with these children, helping the teachers in preparing them for the Sacraments of Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

“Tony was a very willing collaborator with me on the Parish Finance Council and the architects of this new church of St Therese. He excelled in taking on the responsibility of resourcing the vestments, one of which I am wearing, and the statues. The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the devotion for whom formed a large part of his priestly ministry through his involvement with Dromore Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage over the years.

“Also his private visits with friends to Mejugorie. After witnessing the plight of the poor and elderly in Bosnia, he raised funds annually for Sr Muriel Guisler of St Joseph the Worker charity.

“He came to love this parish and its people. It was quite a shock to him to me and to him and to our parishioners when Bishop McAreavey felt in 2012 that Newry parish needed his priestly skills.

“The parishioners and I reluctantly let him go to Newry with our good wishes. He very soon immersed himself into the work of that large parish joining a team of priests offering Masses in the three churches in that big parish and taking on the responsibility of chaplaincy of three schools, two of which he was still chaplain even though he was now working in Donaghmore and Aghaderg.

“In October 2016 Fr Tony realised his dream of being appointed a parish priest but he probably had no envisaged that he would have the responsibility for two parishes.

For nearly five years he immersed himself into the challenging and demanding work. Once again he was greatly appreciated by the secretaries and sacristans and the parishioners, the children and teachers and governors of the two primary schools.

“They all deeply mourn his untimely and sudden death. They attended his wake yesterday evening in large numbers.

“Fr Tony had a marvellous skill which enabled him to reach out to people. He touched so many people’s lives. He was a good shepherd to the parishioners in all the parishes in which he served. He was highly respected as a priest, ministring the love of God in various, and sometimes, demanding pastoral situations.”

Canon Stevenson said Fr Tony studied for the priesthood in St Patrick’s College, Thurles but ‘perhaps his most formative seminary in his own life was his own family home where he learned the faith from his parents Jimmy and Theresa.

“Jimmy, Tony’s father, was the caretaker and sacristan in the fledgling St Anthony’s Parish with the late Monsignor Murray. Tony got to know him and the other curates very well. I suggest these relationships with the priests and the influence of his parents were the source and genesis of his vocation to the priesthood.”

Canon Stevenson recalled how Bishop Philip Boyce appointed Fr Tony as Vicar General of the Dromore Diocese in April 2018. Bishop John McAreavey appointed him Vocations Director.

“Fr Tony was very close and personal with all his brothers and sisters and their spouses and his nieces and nephews. He was especially close to his mother. Each Wednesday, on his day off, he went home to Moyraverty Parish to bring his mother out shopping and for lunch. This pattern continued until her death two and a half years ago. He also took a few days off work around July 12 each year to bring his mother to Knock for Mass and prayers.

“We say goodbye today to an esteemed priest, colleague, a loved brother, a loved uncle a loved nephew and a loved friend of many. He will not be forgotten.”

Fr Corr is the son of the late James and Teresa Corr and the dearest brother of Martina, Jim, Kieran and Ignatius, beloved brother-in-law of Tom, Sabina, Laura and Paula and devoted uncle to Caitriona, Declan, Conrad, Ciara, Ciaran, Conor and Gavin.

His death is deeply regretted by his sorrowing sister, brothers, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and entire family circle, Archbishop Eamon Martin, retired Bishop John McAreavey, the Priests and Religious of the Diocese and the parishioners of Aghaderg and Donaghmore parishes, also the parishes where Fr Tony served and his many friends.

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Archbishop speaks of ‘great shock’ after sudden death of popular priest Fr Tony Corr Read full story here-

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