Fr Gregory Cormican became one of Ireland's youngest parish priests
A highly-respected priest who held posts across Northern Ireland was a man with a gift for friendship, mourners heard yesterday.
At one stage Fr Gregory Cormican was believed to be one the youngest parish priests in Ireland.
The 62-year-old native of Glenavy in Co Antrim passed away on Sunday after a long battle with illness. Ordained in 1981, he served initially as chaplain of the Mater Hospital in Belfast while attached as a curate to St Patrick's in Donegall Street.
He stayed in Belfast between 1983 and 1988, serving as a priest at St Peter's Cathedral, before moving to Greencastle on the Shore Road. Between 1991 and 1994, Fr Cormican ministered at Downpatrick.
In 1994, he was appointed as parish priest at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Ballyclare, where he also served as Catholic chaplain at Antrim Area Hospital.
After nine years in Ballyclare, Fr Cormican moved to Glenarm. Between 2009 and 2016, he was parish priest at Coleraine before he had to resign from his duties because of ill health.
Requiem Mass was held at St Joseph's Church in Glenavy yesterday, where his friend and fellow seminarian Fr Con Boyle said: "It was a shock on Sunday morning when we heard that Gregory had died. We knew it was coming, but he went from us so quickly, so suddenly."
Fr Boyle said that he and his contemporaries soon learned when they were student priests that Fr Cormican was good company and he was often the life of a gathering. He was "a man with a gift for friendship", he added.
"The priesthood can take us priests through a variety of appointments and styles of ministry," Fr Boyle said.
"At the age of 38, Gregory became a parish priest. He was, we believe, the youngest parish priest in Ireland at that time."
Fr Cormican was laid to rest in the cemetery adjoining St Joseph's Church.