Priest to meet man who stole from him

Paddy O'Kane. (2103SL01)
Paddy O'Kane. (2103SL01)

A Derry priest is to travel to Maghaberry prison to meet a ‘homeless’ man who stole from him.

During Christmas week, Father Paddy O’Kane, PP at the Holy Family Church, Ballymagroarty, was awoken in the early hours by a young man in distress. Fr. O’Kane offered the man assistance but the following day he realised several hundred pounds in cash had been stolen from his home.

Fr O’Kane told Mass goers on Sunday last that the man who stole the money had asked to “meet” with him.

Fr O’Kane told the congregation that he agreed with the request and is due to visit Maghaberry prison - where the man is being held for an unrelated offence - to speak with him this week.

Speaking after the theft, Fr. O’Kane said he forgave the thief. “At the time I was angry and annoyed but I have come to see the bigger picture.”

The money taken had been personally put aside by Fr. O’Kane to help parishioners attend a pilgrimage.

The visitor was offered the guest room for the night. Having slept all night Fr. O’Kane offered the man breakfast and in the early afternoon the man said goodbye. A 26 year-old man was later arrested and bailed.