Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Henry Donnelly, a priest of the Portsmouth Diocese, who died in Jersey on 10th August, 2010 at the age of 101. Father was the eldest priest in the Diocese. Ordained to the Holy Priesthood at the cathedral in 1936 by Bishop Cotter, he was for a short time curate at Newport, then at St. Joseph’s, Aldershot. During the war he served as an army chaplain in France and was mentioned in despatches for his bravery during the Dunkirk evacuation. He was then sent to North Africa and then on to Malta. After the war he was sent to St. William of York, Reading as parish priest. After twenty years, he was sent to Shanklin, where he remained until his retirement in 1985. He returned a few years later to serve as chaplain to the Sisters of Mercy at St. Anthony’s Convent.
Fr. Donnelly had a close association with Quarr Abbey and he was a member of our Catholic History Society. In fact he was most regular in paying his subscriptions. He gave considerable help and support to our society in its early days.
Shanklin parishioners remember his enthusiasm for positive ecumenical relationships with other Shanklin churches. He would often be seen walking the streets of the town to visit the sick and the infirm, whilst reciting the rosary as he went along.
Fr. Donnelly’s Funeral Mass took place in the Chapel of the Little Sisters in Jersey on Wednesday 22 August, the Feast of the Queenship of Our Lady. As he wished, his ashes were returned to his beloved Shanklin, to be interred on Wednesday, 29th August in Shanklin cemetery, after a Requiem Mass at Sacred Heart Church.
In his homily at the Requiem Mass, the parish priest, Fr. P.J. Smith to Fr. Donnelly’s faithful service to the Church. “He was loved and cherished here in Shanklin. He was Christ among His people …. A devoted pastor. Many here at this Mass will have received the Sacraments and spiritual nourishment from Fr. Donnelly”.