It is with great sadness that we announce the news of the death of Canon Philip Connolly, retired Parish Priest of Clontibret and the oldest priest in the Diocese of Clogher, who has died at St Anne’s Nursing Home, Ballybay at the age of 94.
Canon Connolly was a native of Dromod in the Parish of Latton-Bawn (Aughnamullen West), Co Monaghan. Following his education at Derrygooney NS, St Macartan’s College, Monaghan and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Fr Connolly was ordained by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid in Maynooth in June 1955. Thereafter he served as CC in Garrison, Co Fermanagh (1955-58), Belleek (Mulleek), Co Fermanagh (1958-62), Castleblayney (1962-64), Clontibret (Doohamlet) (1964-66), Clones (1966-67), Clogher, Co Tyrone (1967-69) and Tydavnet, Co Monaghan (1969-84) before returning to Clontibret parish as PP in April 1984. He served as PP of Clontibret for twenty years during which time he oversaw important projects such as the building of two new schools at Annyalla and Doohamlet and a major extension to Scoil Mhuire, Clontibret. He also undertook restoration projects at the three churches in the parish and brought about a parish development and renewal initiative which bore much fruit. He was appointed to the Diocesan Chapter of Canons in 2000 and following retirement as PP in 2004, he moved to Doohamlet where he continued to serve the people of that area and the wider parish as Pastor Emeritus until his retirement in 2021.
Canon Connolly is mourned by his brothers Monsignor Vincent Connolly PE, Smithboro and Pat Connolly (Carrickmacross) along with his many nieces and nephews and wider family circle.
Having received the news of Canon Connolly’s death, the Bishop of Clogher, Bishop Larry Duffy expressed his deep sorrow with his brothers, Monsignor Vincent and Pat and with the entire Connolly family, assuring them of his spiritual closeness at this time and of his prayers for the repose of Canon Phil’s soul. Paying tribute to him, the bishop noted that Canon Connolly’s priestly ministry spanned a total of 68 years, a period of enormous change in the life of the Church and in wider society. ‘During those years, Canon Phil gave generously of himself to many people across several parishes, most notably the parish of Clontibret in which he served for almost 40 years in different capacities – as curate, parish priest and later as pastor emeritus. His love for the people of God, his knowledge about people and their family connections and his memory of names and faces was legendary. So too was his devotion to duty and to the service of God’s people wherever they were. He was a great character who was always close to the communities he served, always remembering them and bringing their real-life situations into the presence of God through his prayer and ministry and also his wise counsel. That love was reciprocated, as was very evident at the celebration of his various ordination jubilees and more recently his 90th birthday a few years ago in Doohamlet. May Jesus Christ, the eternal priest, in his great mercy now bring him to share in the heavenly banquet which has been prepared for him’, Bishop Duffy said.
Removal to St Michael’s Church, Annyalla, on this Thursday evening, 6 July 2023, to arrive at 6pm. Following the Removal Liturgy, there will be a prayer vigil by parishioners and others in the church, including the celebration of Night Prayer at 10pm.
Midday Prayer of the Church and Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St Michael’s, Annyalla at 12 noon on Friday 7 July 2023, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.