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Tributes paid to dedicated priest and keen sportsman

FORMER Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has paid tribute to Fr Michael Seery who played football for Ballygawley in the 1970s and was Parish Priest in the area for more than 20 years.
 
Fr Seery (77) died suddenly at his home in Stewartstown on Thursday (January 14). He is fondly remembered as a keen sportsman who was very popular with parishioners.
 
Born in Drogheda in 1943, he was ordained in Maynooth in 1967. From 1970 to 1977 he was a curate in the parish of Errigal Ciaran and played for the local GAA club Ballygawley.

He served in several other parishes in Co Louth, Armagh and Derry before returning to Errigal Ciaran where he was Parish Priest from 1995 to 2015. He then took up the role as Pastor Emeritus in Stewartstown five years ago.

 
In a tribute on social media the Stewartsown Harps GAA club stated, “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Fr Michael Seery, our local Parish priest & Honorary Club President”.

Members of the club formed a guard of honour, with strict social distancing and wearing of face masks, when Fr Seery’s remains were brought to St Mary’s Chapel in the village on Thursday night.

 
A keen runner, Fr Seery completed a number of marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 1996, and in his heyday was often seen running the roads.
 
Mickey Harte recalled him as a ‘keen sportsman and a very kind and devoted priest’.
 
He said, “I distinctly remember him playing when I started to play. He was a decent half back, very steady more than spectacular and very reliable. He liked to carry the ball and was a man of the team. He came across as a natural footballer and was speedy.
 
“I remember Fr Seery did lot of running as well. He lived near us in Glencull and was often running on the roads keeping fit before it was as popular as it is now. He loved sport and was a kind man and very dedicated to his vocation as a priest.”
 
Mr Harte also remembered Fr Seely’s kindness to his late brother Paddy before he passed away. He added, “He was attentive to the sick and always prayed for anyone in the parish who was ill or even had a small complaint of sickness. He was very attentive to my late brother Paddy.
 
“He was very dedicated to his vocation as a priest. He was a gentle priest, he never shouted, and was a gentleman.

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“Fr Seery went about his work quietly and didn’t raise his voice. It is a very sad loss and we have very fond memories of him here.”
 
The church in Stewartstown remained open on Friday for private prayer to honour Fr Seery and was limited to one person at a time.
 
Requiem Mass was offered on Saturday in St Mary’s Church, and was accessible via webcam. Due to ongoing restrictions, the funeral was limited to 25 in attendance, and was comprised of family members and close friends. Many have paid tribute and offered prayers for Fr Seery on social media sites since his passing.

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