GREGORY CORMICAN, a priest of Down and Connor, died last Sunday at the age of 61. Born in 1956, he had been a priest for 36 years.l took place yesterday, in his native Glenavy in County Antrim.
He died after a long battle with cancer.
I first met him back in February 1983 when he replaced me as a curate in St. Peter's Cathedral in Belfast when I was moved to Kilkeel in County Down.
Gregory was a "safe man" and a "company man" and never rocked any ecclesiastical boats - at least in his public life.
His private life was a different matter - and even though the bishop and clergy were very aware of this "private life" is was, of course, not mentioned in the days since his death or at his funeral.
It is best summed by the saying an old, now deceased priest of mine had: "IF YOU SEE A PIG WITH TWO HEADS SAY NOTHING"!
He was a classmate of a cleric well known to readers of this Blog - The Very Reverend "Dean" Hugh Kennedy.
|The Dean Emeritus|
"The Dean", as we call him in still among the missing and indeed was noticeable by his absence from yesterday's funeral.
Another classmate - Fr. Con Boyle gave the homily - and as you would expect from Con - it was not a rousing performance in any sense of the word.
|Con "The Orator" Boyle|
Another classmate still - Fr. Stephen McBrearty (now there is one to watch) - spoke at the end of the funeral Mass - in his capacity as Gregory's executor. Again, no Oscars were awarded.
The other "executor", believe it or not, is another person well known to this blog - Fr. Brendan Mulhall - the PP of Turf Lodge who commutes to Turf Lodge from his "family" home in Andersontown.
Another interesting connection Dear Reader?
Gregory had 4 classmates - Con Boyle, Stephen McBrearty, Hugh Kennedy, and Denis McKinley - the PP of Castlewellan in County Down.
However, Denis McKinley is uncontactable - as he is at an unknown international venue. In fact, Denis is the only cleric in Down and Connor with more air miles than Noel himself :-)
Another well-known blog priest turned up at the funeral - CIARAN DALLAT of Maghaberry Prison:
It was an interesting day.
NOEL "EMOTIONAL" TREANOR
Of course, there could have been no D&C show without the presence of the High Priest himself Noel Treanor - who was as emotional as ever!
A longstanding lady friend of mine from Glenavy Parish told me yesterday that there was no love lost between Gregory Cormican, his family and Noel Treanor.
She did not want to go into the reasons behind this coolness - which has left me thinking that Gregory and his family probably experienced Treanor's coldness, aloofness, and distance???
This estrangement seemed to lead to Gregory's body not being brought to the chapel the night before the funeral and the absence of the diocesan clergy preceding the Mass with the Office for the Dead - a longstanding tradition.
Of course, we know that Down and Connor has become basically leaderless under Treanor's episcopacy with the clergy largely disillusioned by the coldness of their bishop.
As Treanor still has a good few years to go in the job this estrangement and low morale will only deepen.
Treanor had little to say at yesterday's funeral and he was basically there as a functionary.
As I say, there was a big elephant in the room yesterday - but I suppose this is not the time to address that elephant.