|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
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
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
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
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
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
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