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Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Father Kennedy leaves after just one year

Father Hugh Kennedy who has been made Administrator of St Peter's Cathedral. US35-554JC

FATHER Hugh Kennedy, who has been Parish Priest of Lisburn for just 12 months, has been appointed Administrator of St. Peter's Cathedral in Belfast's Albert Street.

St. Peter's is the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of Down and Connor, the second largest diocese in Ireland, and serves a Catholic population of around 300,000 people.

Father Kennedy, who is also Diocesan Master of Ceremonies, will succeed Monsignor Thomas Toner who has been Cathedral Administrator since August 1994.

He in turn will be succeeded at St. Patrick's by Father Dermot McCaughan, currently the Parish Priest of Hannahstown.

News of his departure will undoubtedly be greeted with sadness by his parishioners and the clergy and members of other churches in Lisburn. Shortly after he arrived at Chapel Hill from the Sacred Heart Church in Belfast's Oldpark area he told the Star how touched he had been by the welcome extended to him.

He said he found people to be 'very warm' and added one of the first people to greet him had been a local Presbyterian Minister.

Father Kennedy is a member of the family which owned Belfast's famous Kennedy Bakery.

He grew up in the Malone area, his home parish being St. Brigids at Derryvolgie Avenue, and was educated at the adjoining St. Bride's Primary School before going on to St. Malachy's College.

As a child he often visited Lisburn on shopping expeditions.

He also heard a great deal about Lisburn from his family's neighbours, a Mr. and Mrs. Madden who ran a grocer's shop in the town.

After leaving St. Malachy's Father Kennedy took his degree at Queens University. He also studied in Rome and Paris before attending the Seminary in Maynooth.

He was due to be ordained by Pope John Paul II in the Italian capital in 1981 but his ordination was brought forward because of a need for new clergy created by the death of four priests within the Down and Connor Diocese.

The ceremony was instead conducted by Bishop Agnellus Andrew.

However, he was presented with a set of the Pope's vest ments for his ordination, which he still possesses.

"As it turned out the Pope would not have been able to ordain me anyway as he was shot on May 13 of that year," he added.

Father Kennedy's first parish was Castlewellan in Co. Down.

He then moved to Glenravel at Martinstown in the Glens of Antrim before going to Paris where he spent three years taking a Masters Degree in Theology.

"I enjoyed that very much and then I came back to Northern Ireland to work at St. Paul's Church on the Falls Road," he explained.

"I spent two and a half years there and I was then due to go back to Paris to finish my Doctorate.

"However, my father became ill and the then Bishop Cahal Daly decided I should take my studies at Maynooth where I remained for four years.

"Then it was back to Belfast to St. Bernadettes in Rosetta before I moved to Sacred Heart where I stayed for eight years before moving here."

Father Kennedy stepped down last year as Chairman of the Trust set up to look after Ulster's church heritage. He is also Chief Chaplain to the Order of Malta in Ireland.

Ulster Star