Belfast Telegraph

Welcome for wrongly accused priest

A Catholic priest wrongly accused of raping a teenager in Kenya and fathering her child has been welcomed back home to his parish.

Father Kevin Reynolds received a standing ovation as he attended Mass in Saint Cuan's Church, Ahascragh, Co Galway.

RTE this week apologised to the cleric, accepting allegations in its Prime Time Investigates programme entitled A Mission to Pray - aired last May - were baseless and without any foundation.

Fr Kevin had been forced to stand down as parish priest and leave his Galway home while investigations were carried out.

At a mass marking his reinstatement, Bishop Christopher Jones, Bishop of Elphin, said all the priests of the diocese were deeply concerned and hurt at what he had endured and were delighted to see him back.

"We pray that Fr Kevin will continue to enjoy peace of mind and heart as he resumes his ministry among us," he told the congregation. "We pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit, his family will experience healing in their hearts.

"We pray for the Mill Hill Community and for the people of this parish that together we can all face the future with courage and hope."

The priest, a Mill Hill Missionary, started defamation proceedings against RTE to vindicate his good name and reputation. Two paternity tests later showed the 65-year-old was not the father of the Kenyan woman.

Bishop Jones said he was shocked and saddened as he watched the TV programme, adding Fr Kevin had responded to the attack on his integrity with great courage, strength and resilience.

"Fr Kevin has carried his cross with great dignity," continued Bishop Jones. "He willingly stepped aside from ministry and never expressed anger or impatience of any kind. I believe that his own deep faith and spirituality have been his greatest source of courage and consolation through this most dreadful experience of his life."

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