Priest hailed for his peace work mourned by 800 at service

The funeral service takes  for Fr Gerry Reynolds
The funeral service takes for Fr Gerry Reynolds

The funeral of a priest credited with contributing to the Province’s peace process attracted a large crowd of mourners to Clonard Monastery in west Belfast.

The service for redemptorist cleric Father Gerry Reynolds was staged at around midday, following his death on November 30 at the Royal Victoria Hospital, aged 82.

After his requiem mass on Thursday – attended by an estimated 800 people – Father Reynolds’ remains were buried at Milltown cemetery.

Among those who had pledged to be at the service was Irish foreign minister Charlie Flanagan.

The Dublin government representative had said on Wednesday that Father Reynolds had made a “vital contribution to the peace process during darker days in Northern Ireland”.

Also speaking ahead of the funeral on Wednesday had been John Mann, dean of Belfast’s Anglican St Anne’s Cathedral.

He had said: “It goes without saying that the Clonard community will be in our thoughts and prayers.

“May the love of Christ continue to renew and extend our mutual fellowship, and may the light of Christ perpetually shine on his faithful servant Gerry Reynolds, priest and devout servant of God.”

In the immediate aftermath of his death, UUP leader Mike Nesbitt had issued a statement hailing him as having been a “vocal and visible member of the faith community pushing politicians to stretch themselves for peace” during his time as a journalist, adding that he contributed to the “quiet diplomacy” which was going on at that period.

Meanwhile Alan McBride of the WAVE Trauma Centre described him as “a humble man whose commitment to building peace and reconciliation was unrivalled on this island”.