Born: September 20, 1934; Died: December 26, 2012.
Father Edward McSherry – known to everyone as Father Ted – was the popular parish priest of St Mary's Star of the Sea in Leith, Edinburgh, when he died after more than half a century of unbroken service.
He grew up in Liverpool in a parish run by the order he eventually joined, The Oblates of Mary Immaculate, started in post revolutionary France in 1782.
Two generations of the order's British priests were trained by the gentle priest, known for his unruffled calm and Scouse wisdom. After ordination in Ireland in 1958 he alternated between working as a parish priest in the UK and Ireland and as a teacher of novitiates. He was also known for his love of music and generally sang an accompanied mass setting when he officiated.
He sang constantly in the parish houses where he lived and fellow Oblate priest, Father Paul Byrne, recalls an occasion when a group of them sat up singing together all night. Father Ted was a man, he said, who had consciously made a gift of his life to others: to his fellow priests, to his parishioners and to his close extended family.
At his funeral the church was packed with mourners, many had travelled for long distances to give thanks for what was described as a simple life – and a simple death. The day after officiating at Mass on Christmas Day, as Father Ted was packing his car to join a family trip, he died suddenly of a heart attack.
His nephew Kevin McSherry, the altar boy for his uncle at his first mass as a priest, said he should be remembered as a man completely at ease with himself, his vocation and happy with his own mortality.
Bishop Peter Brignall, Bishop of Wrexham, travelled from Wales to deliver the eulogy where for six years from 2004 Father Ted was a parish priest at the Oblates' Mission on the island of Anglesey.
They attended many clergy meetings together as Father Ted was the dean of the network of parishes. The bishop recalled much patient service at meetings of one kind or another.
He said Father Ted's relaxation was spent commonly with a book, and not infrequently with a stroll and a book, finding somewhere quiet to sit, read, reflect and be inspired by the scene around him.
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