Tributes for pastoral care provided by parish priest

THERE has been an outpouring of support for Creeslough parish priest Fr John Joe Duffy, who has been a constant source of comfort to those facing their darkest days.
Fr John Joe arrived on the scene shortly after the explosion at Applegreen service station on Friday and remained there, as people frantically gathered to wait for news of their loved ones. When that news came, and it was the most devastating, Fr John Joe was there. He was there with a hug, words of solace and sometimes just in silence when words could not be found. Emergency service personnel, gardaí and others were also cocooned by his pastoral care.
Fr John Joe brought the devastated community of Creeslough together in the wake of the tragedy with rosary and prayer services.
Ten people lost their lives in the explosion in the close-knit village at 3.20pm. The youngest victim, Shauna Flanagan Garwe, was just five-years-old. Shauna, who had just started school a few weeks ago, died with her father, Robert Garwe, 49. The little girl was found wrapped in her father’s arms.
On the eve of the funerals, which commenced in St Michael’s Church on Tuesday with Jessica Gallagher’s (24), many voiced their appreciation online for John Joe’s exemplary pastoral care, as he prepared to undertake the most difficult and challenging time of his priesthood.
One person wrote: “Creeslough are very lucky to have him at this time. Caring and compassionate. Fr John Joe will need all our prayers in the coming days and weeks.”
Another person wrote: “He’s been amazing and we all know the difficult job he has and somehow hope we can give him the support and strength to do it,” while another praised his compassion.
“Praying for Fr John Joe. His compassion has to be commended. May God guide you through the difficult days ahead.”

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