Priest critical after collapse on altar
WELL-KNOWN and much-loved Kilmore Priest Fr Denis Doyle is critically ill in hospital in Dublin after collapsing during a funeral Mass at the parish church on Thursday. Fr Denis was officiating at the funeral of Sean Radford, from Rackardstown, Kilmore, when he became ill.
He had had just finished paying a personal tribute to Mr Radford when he collapsed.
Liam Bates, the musician who was playing the organ, caught him as began to fall.
The Mass came to an abrupt halt while members of the congregation, among them three nurses and a paramedic, gave him first aid and an ambulance was called.
Fr Denis was given oxygen and taken out of the side door on a stretcher before being driven to Wexford General Hospital in the ambulance.
He remains in a critical condition in Beaumont Hospital to which he was transferred last Friday.
Mr Radford's funeral resumed after Fr John Doyle, from Mulrankin, was called in to take Fr Denis's place.
Fr Denis, who is highly regarded for his work ethic, had had a particularly busy weekend ahead of the funeral Mass.
'He was totally exhausted, he has been here every chance he had,' said the late Sean Radford's grieving widow Lucy.
'He is such a gentleman. He was a friend of Sean's and treated him like his brother.
Everyone loves him and we all hope he comes through this,' she said, paying tribute to those in the congregation who came to Fr Denis's aid in the church when he collapsed.
'There were three nurses and a paramedic there. What better place could he have been in?'
Back in 2002, Fr Denis, replaced Fr Pat Furlong who retired after 15 years in the parish.
Fr Denis was brought back from the Ferns mission in Brazil to fill the vacancy.
A native of Ballycullane parish, Fr Doyle spent 14 years in Brazil.
After his ordination in 1971, he served three years in Belfast, followed by two years in Blackwater and 10 years attached to Rowe Street church in Wexford.
Diocesan spokesman Fr John Carroll said, 'we join with the many who extend to him every good wish as he journeys to recovery'.
His comments echoed by local Cllr Ger Carthy, a close acquaintance of Fr Denis, and others in the local area.