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Town’s former priest dies

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By Abbey Morton
Annan and Eskdale
Town's former priest dies

A CONGREGATION is mourning the loss of its former parish priest.

And services for Father Joseph Holmes MHM will take place in Annan and Dumfries next week.

Fr Holmes passed away on September 30 at Herbert House in Liverpool, where he was transferred last month as his health declined.

He will be welcomed back to Annan with a reception of remains at St Columba’s Church on Thursday October 21, and a requiem mass will follow on Friday at St Andrew’s Church in Dumfries.

Fr Joe, as he was affectionately known, was born on July 27 1938 in Dumfries.

He was baptised in the parish of St Andrew and in 1947 he received the sacrament of Confirmation there too.

Joe’s father, also called Joseph, was a railwayman, and his mother was Hannah Holmes, nee Lynch.

Eventually, Joe was accompanied in his family by four brothers and two sisters.

For part of his secondary education, Joe attended Saint Joseph’s High School in Dumfries, from 1951 to 1953, but, feeling a call to the missionary priesthood, he transferred to Saint Joseph’s College, Lochwinnoch until 1955 and then moved to Mill Hill Junior Seminary.

He completed his secondary education, at Burn Hall in Durham and was then promoted to study philosophy and associated subjects at the Missiehuis in Roosendaal, Holland.

To complete his preparation for priesthood, Joe continued his seminary studies at Saint Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London between 1959 and 1963.

In July, 1963 he was ordained a priest in St Joseph’s College Chapel and his first appointment was at Saint Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, London, where he obtained a post-graduate teacher training diploma.

Over the following three decades, Fr Joe taught across the UK and Ireland but also in his beloved Africa.

In 1993 he packed up his belongings in Kenya, and returned to work in the UK for good.

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