Meet Northern Ireland’s Star Trek priest. Father Ian Fee isn’t your average priest — a self-styled ‘Trekkie’, he’s been collecting Star Trek memorabilia for more than 30 years.
Film buff Fr Fee (38), who is based in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, explained how his passion to boldly go where some priests daren’t started when he was a child.
“I grew up watching Star Trek. Captain Kirk, Spock, ‘Bones’ McCoy — they were all childhood heroes.
“Blankets were pulled off the bed and suddenly became capes, you know. As a child you have your daydreams, your fantasies and your heroes.”
Ian has built up a colossal collection of statues, books, scripts, costumes and DVDs which take up a whole room in his house.
“I’ve got all the Star Trek episodes. I think there’s something like 700 or 800 hours of material. I have also something in the region of 110 autographs just of Star Trek actors.
“It’s like a football fan collecting football stickers or football programmes. Collecting things is basically what represents something you’re interested in.”
He’s also a fan of other films.
“My taste in movies is very widespread. I go back to the comedies of the 1930s right up through the years to the James Bond films and the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. I also like horror
films like Frankenstein, Bride Of Frankenstein, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and The Omen.”
Fr Fee has met ALL of his favourite actors from the series.
“I recently met Leonard Nimoy (right), Spock in the original series in the Sixties, and Zachary Quinto, who will play Spock in the new Star Trek movie coming out in May this year.
“I also know Bob Picardo, the actor who played the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager.
“I’ve got to know him over the years and it’s given me a different perspective on the whole Star Trek universe, a look behind the scenes so to speak,” added Ian.
He has found the internet a great help in developing his passion for Star Trek further.
“I visit a site called Trek Today and there are fans on there from all around the world. I’m actually pleasantly surprised at the amount of clergy that are on it from all dominations.
“I know of at least seven who are on it, mostly from America. I know an Italian priest, a Methodist minister and lots of people with backgrounds in theology from many different faiths. Some of my own friends who are priests would pop in on occasion.”
Ian also enjoys visiting various Star Trek conventions in America and across the UK. The Official Star Trek convention is held every year in Las Vegas.
“There are so many different kinds of people there.
“You have the casual fans that go purely out of curiosity, the diehard fans who are big and committed fans, and then you have the people who take it a little too far — they arrive fully dressed with full make-up on, which is fine for a fancy dress party but when you’re sitting
down to breakfast opposite a Klingon it’s a completely different story!
“You would also find some of these people dressed as Klingons speaking Klingon, which can be a little weird at times, but, God bless them, they’re having fun.”
The Catholic cleric, who has been a priest for 14 years, was
born in London and moved to Northern Ireland in 1995. He worked in Enniskillen for two years before moving to nearby Lisnaskea, where he’s been for 11 years.
Father Fee believes his collection shows how important it is to show individuality.
“As priests or anyone who follows a religious vocation, the thing we always have to remember is that this is a call from God. He’s calling us as we are and it doesn’t make sense that we should be called and then asked to completely strip ourselves off from the things that make us who we are.
“So, all that I am, whether it’s my interest in sci-fi, movies, music or football, colour me as a person but also as a priest.”