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Bench honours popular Suffolk priest Fr John

One of Suffolk’s most popular parish priests was remembered at a ceremony in the front garden of St Felix RC Church on March 27.

A bench placed in honour of Fr John McNally, who served in the Felixstowe parish from 1993 until his death in 2007, was rededicated by the current parish priest, Fr John Barnes. The bench refurbishment was organised by altar server Tony Lazell, who had suggested to Fr Barnes that a rededication for a much loved former parish priest would be welcomed by local worshippers. 

Tony paid tribute to Fr John, saying: “His sense of humour was second to none. Every Sunday morning when I arrived to serve on the altar, Fr John would be sitting in a chair in his sacristy waiting to greet us all before each mass. Similarly, he would go to the church entrance to meet all the parishioners as they arrive and then return to put on his vestments ready for the ceremony that he was about to conduct.

“Fr John enjoyed life away from the church. He often went into the town to reassure and comfort the homeless, spiritually and financially when not needed by members of his church.

Fr McNally, originally from Co Offaly in Ireland, started working life in accountancy before joining the priesthood. He also served in Brandon and Cambridgeshire.

Pictured above is Fr John Barnes and altar server Tony Lazell with the refurbished bench in honour of Fr John McNally.