13 July 2022, The Tablet

Fr Dermott Donnelly - the real star

Word From the Cloisters

Fr Dermott Donnelly - the real star


IT’S NOT often that a Catholic priest is the subject of a lead story in a tabloid newspaper – unless there is a scandal brewing – but last Saturday the Daily Mirror led its front page with the death of Fr Dermott Donnelly, elder brother of Declan Donnelly, one half of the Geordie duo, Ant and Dec. It was clear from their tributes that they thought Fr Dermott, who had spent all his 30 years of priesthood in unshowy pastoral work in his beloved north-east, was the real star.

Fr Dermott was known for his work with young people, but he was also committed to the homeless. Catherine Pepinster, former editor of The Tablet, stayed with Fr Dermott in 2019 when he was administrator of St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle and asked her to give the Cardinal Hume Lecture. The diverse audience included many migrant workers and overseas students.

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