The Bishop of Connor and the Dean of Belfast have both paid tribute to Father Gerry Reynolds, who died on Monday aged 80.
The Bishop, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, described Father Reynolds as ‘a companion on the journey of faith to many’ and the Dean, the Very Rev John Mann, said his death was a loss to the whole Christian Church.
A Redemptorist priest who worked for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, Father Reynolds was based at Clonard Monastery for more than 30 years.
Bishop Alan stated: “It was with great sadness that I learnt of Father Gerry’s death. He was a companion on the journey of faith to many and his inclusion, welcome and affirmation to those of us from different traditions was a special gift. We assure the community and people that supported him of our love and prayers.”
Dean Mann said: “Father Gerry was quite often in St Anne’s for ecumenical events and particularly with the Clonard Pilgrims, who have been with us one Sunday morning each year since I became Dean, demonstrating their own act of reaching out to others.
“Father Gerry was instrumental in combining such an essential sharing of Christian fellowship with a deep understanding of the spectrum of Christian tradition reflected across our community. Last June, I was privileged to be asked by Father Gerry to take part as an ecumenical guest at the Clonard Solemn Novena.
“The care that he took with both me and the Presbyterian and Methodist speakers demonstrated profoundly and beyond words how his particular journey in the footsteps of Christ led him to offer himself to others in love. Many Church of Ireland clergy and lay people will bear witness with me to the encouragement that we have felt from him to tread that same way of the Cross and strive to serve others after the example of Christ himself.
“For over 30 years Father Gerry Reynolds has, with typical humility and grace, served to bring Christians in Belfast and beyond together in prayer and action. Most will know of his work of reconciliation over many years with the Reverend Ken Newell during his time as Minister of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, but they and others will be sharing memories gratefully, during these days that we mourn Gerry’s loss to the whole Christian Church.
“It goes without saying that the Clonard community will be in our thoughts and prayers. May the love of Christ continue to renew and extend our mutual fellowship, and may the light of Christ perpetually shine on his faithful servant Gerry Reynolds, priest and devout servant of God.”