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In memory of Oliver Kelly

 In memory of Oliver Kelly

1944 - 29th September 2022

Today is not about summing up a person or their life. It is about remembering the life of the person and taking a moment to give thanks to God for all that that person was to us and for us, throughout their life time with us.

Sadly, I only had one face-to-face encounter with Oliver a as priest, but for years my mum and I, week in, week out, bought our fruit from Kelly’s Fruit Shop on Hill Street in Newry. But Oliver spent his working life in the Market Street shop in Lurgan. That one encounter I mentioned, I had with Oliver as a priest was the day I was moving into the parish of Tullylish for the second time, but this time as the new Parish Priest.

Sarah had rung me to ask me to come and anoint Oliver. I told her what was happening and that I would see her later that day. I arrived in a dirty white tea shirt and blue track suits bottoms as I had left the furniture removal men to get the furniture into the house. 

Oliver looked at me in complete shock when Sarah told him I was the new Parish Priest. He looked up at me from the bed and said, ‘How do I know you are a priest’? I said all I have with me is my prayer book which I showed him and my oil stock to anoint him. So, he agreed that I could anoint him.

As I was leaving I told him that the next time he would see me fully dressed as a priest. Well Oliver, I hope he can see me now.

Oliver was born in Lurgan in 1944. He went to primary school in Lurgan and to St Colman’s College in Newry for his secondary education. When he left school he entered the family fruit business where he worked hard until he retired in 1990 due to ill health.

In his young days Oliver played Darts. His other great love was like myself, Music. He loved Irish traditional Music especially and often asked Aveen to buy his favourites on record and CD.

Despite Oliver’s illnesses over the years, he was a very loving husband, father and grand-father. As he got older Oliver lost his mobility and that was not an easy thing to take on board either by him or Sarah and Aveen either. It certainly changed things for Oliver. No more was he able to go to daily Mass or go to the Adoration Chapel in Lurgan. He had to do all his praying at home and that he did. His faith was strong and he had great devotion to St Therese and I have no doubt he is enjoying her on this very special day that is her feast day and also his day for entering heaven. Who knows, maybe she was the one sent to greet him at the gates of heaven.

To day we let go of a family man. We give him back to God who will keep him safe until we all meet him again in the Father’s mansion of many rooms.

Our gospel says to us, to not let our hearts be troubled. How can our hearts be troubled now that Oliver is a peace.

Eternal rest…

I would just like to offer my sympathies to Sarah, Oliver’s wife and to their daughter Aveen and to Steven his son-in-law and to his grand-son Aidan.

Also, to Oliver’s’ sisters Phil and Maurita and to his brother Imar and to all his brothers and sisters-in-law; Jacqueline, Edward, Donal, Liam and James and too all his nieces and nephews, neighbours and friends as well.




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