Tributes have been paid after a popular priest passed away last weekend.
Father Terry Murnane was curate at St Andrew’s, St Mary Magdalen’s and St Peter’s churches in Accrington for three years until 2016.
He passed away in the early hours of Saturday, April 28, aged 55. He had been ill since suffering from a stroke in September last year.
He had latterly served as vicar of St James’ Church, Haslingden and St Thomas’ Musbury in Helmshore having joined the parish last December.
Father Laurence Carson-Featham, Terry’s first incumbent as a curate, said: “While his ideal of Christian and priestly ministry tended towards the vulnerable, the marginalised, the unchurched, Father Terry, sacrificially and lovingly supported by his dear wife Cheryl and family, reached out to all in the communities to whom he ministered and beyond.
“In the four church schools we serve, for example, Father Terry’s input and impact were very much felt and he will be remembered by pupils, students and staff for a long time to come.
“Father Terry loved people, he loved us, he loved God; and we will continue to love and pray for him, our dear friend and priest.”
Described as ‘larger-than-life’ and ‘one of a kind’, Father Terry worked in the community sector as a project manager who emphasised interfaith dialogue.
He also spent some time as a business executive but was ordained into the clergy at Blackburn Cathedral in 2014 after sensing what he described as ‘a calling to ordained ministry’.
Rt Rev. Phillip North, Bishop of Burnley, spoke of his sadness and paid tribute to Father Terry, who he described as a wonderful priest and a fantastic friend.
He said: “Father Terry was not just a person, he was an event. With his loud, booming voice, his tireless energy for ministry, his constant flow of ideas and his boundless capacity for love and friendship, he was someone who made a huge impact on everyone around him. In his ministry in Haslingden and Musbury, Terry achieved more in a year than many would manage in a decade and brought evangelistic zeal and strategic direction to the Parishes. It was a complete privilege to serve Terry as his Bishop and I felt he ministered to me almost as much as I ministered to him.”
Speaking on behalf of Father Terry’s current parishes, associate priest, Father David Stephenson said: “Having made such a positive, lively, energetic and bold impression on the parish at all levels the future is hard to imagine without him as a key figure in it.
“During my three months here I have heard of so many encounters in which Father Terry demonstrated his outstanding care and love for his flock. Father Terry was passionate about work with schools, about meeting people where they were and about bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ. He was a friend to so many, myself included, and a fine example of a parish priest.”
Father Terry leaves his wife Cheryl and also children Caitlin, 22; Kieran, 19; Lucy, 11 and Jayden, two.
His Funeral Eucharist will take place at 11am on Monday, May 14 in St James' Church in Haslingden.