He made his remarks at the funeral of Father John Cargan who passed away in hospital on Thursday last following a short illness.
Rev. Cargan was a native of Castlerock and, after attending St Columb’s College in Derry, went on to study for the priesthood and was ordained in 1978. He later served in a number of parishes across the diocese including Omagh, Our Lady of Lourdes Steelstown, Faughanvale, Maghera and, lastly, Kilrea.
Speaking at his funeral Mass, Bishop McKeown said his passing had touched the lives of many people - including his brother clergy “who knew his kindness and wisdom”.
He added: “From a purely human perspective, we might well ask why he hadn’t gone to the doctor earlier or why we have buried three parish priests in ministry since last September, when we can ill afford to lose them.”
Rev. Cargan was pre-deceased by fellow Derry priests, Rev. Aidan Mullan (Long Tower), who passed away in September, and Rev. Paddy O’Kane (Holy Family), who died just last month.
Bishop McKeown added: “Today we give thanks for the ministry of Fr John – those whom he encouraged in his unique ways, and those who loved and supported him in Omagh, Steelstown, Faughanvale, Maghera and Kilrea. The world is blessed by those who can speak hope into loss and offer consolation that comes not merely from a witty mind but from a generous, faithful heart.”
Rev. Cargan was buried in the graveyard of St Mary’s, Drumagarner.