Belfast Telegraph

Fr Donegan hails words of support after holy oil theft

Fr Gary Donegan
Fr Gary Donegan
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A priest best known for his work in Ardoyne has thanked supporters after holy oil he has used for 28 years was stolen in Dublin.

Fr Gary Donegan had been at the All-Ireland GAA football final at Croke Park when his car was broken into.

"It's just very upsetting, this little item is just a tube of about five inches but for the last 28 years it has been there at these very intimate and sacred moments," he said.

"I've been at the scene of accidents, in neo-natal units with little babies, climbing the Holy Cross Church tower after a young man took his life and with a young man who died during rioting.

"I used it to anoint my own grandparents and my baby nephew Michael as well.

"I've been threatened before but losing the oils has hit me so hard," added Fr Donegan.

He said ministers from the Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian Church were among those who offered their support.

"Even a man I anointed who is about to undergo chemotherapy treatment rang this morning to tell me how much it meant to him and asked if there was anything he could do for me," he said.

"If there's anything that has come out of this it's that the goodness of people rises above everything."

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