Thousands of people have paid their respects or attended the wake and three Masses celebrated in Ballintra and Letterkenny for the late Fr Joseph (Joe) O'Donnell who died last weekend.
Hundreds attended a Mass on Monday last as his remains arrived in St Brigid's Church, Ballintra, a day later a second Mass saw a church to overflowing as chief clebrant Fr O Fearraí, PP Kilbarron, assisted by seven priests, told the congregation how many, many stories they had heard about Fr Joe's popularity.
“He loved children, but he was popular with people of all ages,” Fr O Fearraí said.
Locals were very much involved in the celebration of his life and guards of honour outside the church saw students and staff from local schools stand side by side with members of the local Naomh Brid GAA club.
In St Eunan's Cathedral, Letterkenny, Bishop Alan McGuckian, was the principal celebrant, joined by priests from all over the county and country.
He told mourners: “He was first and last a priest, a pastor and stories of his kindness and wise counsel are endless. I don’t need to repeat them here. They are in the hearts of so many people here in the cathedral today.
“Joe grew to have the heart of a good shepherd.
“People in trouble and people at moments of pain and loss, knew it.
“The children knew it, especially. Niamh knew it - his niece whom he loved as the apple of his eye.
“I think there is a girl here from Ballintra with her friends who left her birthday party to go and serve an evening Mass because they wouldn’t see Father Joe stuck.”
Bishop Alan reflected on Fr Joe's many interests - “Joe could relax and enjoy life, he loved music, Queen, Tom Petty and followed Leeds United through thick and thin.”
Following Requiem Mass Fr Joseph was laid to rest in Conwal Cemtery, again large numbers attended.
May he rest in peace.
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