Parishes mourn passing of much loved Cleric

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

Tuesday 26 January 2021 7:18

“A VERY colourful character and great company. A very kind and wise pastor too”.

One of the many tributes to the former Parish Priest of Crossmaglen, Rev Fr Joe McKeever who passed away at Craigavon Area Hospital on Saturday from Covid..

A native of Portadown, Fr McKeever was a late vocation having taught in Drumcree High School for a number of years.

He was educated at St Patrick’s College in Armagh and went on to study at Maynooth obtaining a Bachelor of Divinity and Theology/Spirituality.

He served as curate in the Parishes of Dundalk; Dungannon and Upper Creggan before being apopinted Parish Priest of the latter in 2006.

From a family steeped in the GAA tradition, Fr McKeever was a great lover of all gaelic sports.

Following his death a number of glowing and fond tributes were made from across the land.

McKeever’s Bar wrote on Social media: “As I am sure most of you have now heard of the sad passing of Fr Joe McKeever

“As you can all imagine we are all deeply saddened with this loss

Fr Joe was more than just a priest to us...

He was a brother, an uncle, a teacher, a mentor, a dear dear friend to everyone

He will be missed more than words can convey

We love you Joe

From his beloved Crossmaglen Rangers: “Crossmaglen Rangers players, members, supporters and friends are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Fr McKeever. Fr Joe, former Parish Priest of Upper Creggan was a loyal, devoted and passionate supporter of Cross Rangers. We all have fond memories of Fr Joe enjoying many successes with us. We send our sincere condolences to the entire McKeever family at this difficult time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Former Armagh star and local MLA Justin McNultycommented: “So sorry to hear of the passing of Fr. Joe McKeever RIP. What craic we had with him down the years around the football. And I know how well got he was amongst all his parishioners. He will be sorely missed. I measc na naomh go raibh sé.

From thge Parish of Dungannon, Clonmore Choir commented: “It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Fr Joseph McKeever. For many years while curate in the parish of Dungannon in the nineties and early 2000s he was a constant celebrant in our chapel before he went on to become parish priest of Upper Creggan in South Armagh where he was held in great esteem.

Fr Joe, as he was affectionately known, was a great supporter of the GAA and a very proud Armagh man and while Parish priest in Upper Creggan became a great supporter of the Crossmaglen Rangers team.

He was a tireless worker with those who were ill and sick and accompanied many of the pilgrimages to Lourdes. He loved listening to our choir and would delight in coming to Clonmore when the choir were singing. A great man of the cloth and the people has sadly gone to his eternal rest. To the entire McKeever family we the members of Clonmore choir would like to extend our sincere sympathy. Today, Fr Joe,

can listen to us sing from the highest seat in the gallery.

Ar Dheis dé go raibh a anam

Fr. Joe P.E former Parish Priest of Crossmaglen (Upper Creggan), was beloved son of the late Sarah (Sadie) and Patsy and dear brother of Colm, Marian (Gallagher), Patricia (Gallagher), Charlie, Colette (McNally), Mark and the late Gary. R.I.P.

Deeply regretted by his loving family, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Bishop Michael Router, Cardinal Seán Brady, the Priests of the Archdiocese, family circle and many friends.

Fr Joe was buried on Sunday in St John’s Drumcree.

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