FATHER Ted McSherry, parish priest at St Mary’s Star of the Sea RC Church, Leith, has died, at the age of 78.
Edward Vincent McSherry was born on September 29, 1934, the youngest of four children to a family who lived in a dockside area of Liverpool.
Shortly afterwards, they moved to the suburb of Norris Green, where the family was part of the parish of St Theresa, run by the order which Ted eventually joined – the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), started in post revolutionary France in 1782.
Except for a short period in Australia, Fr Ted spent all his working life in the UK and Ireland.
After his ordination in 1958 in Piltown, County Kilkenny, he alternated between teaching novitiates and working as a parish priest, with spells in London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Ireland and Wales.
He came to Scotland in 2010 and was appointed parish priest of St Mary’s Star of the Sea in Leith.
At the time of his death, he was still working and leading a full life, having recently returned from a visit to South America.
At his funeral, the church was packed with mourners, many of whom had travelled long distances to mark the passing of a popular priest and to give thanks for what was described as a “simple life”.
His nephew, Kevin McSherry, said Fr Ted was a man with a “zest for life, who did not seem to get old”.
The pair had recently been on a cycling trip in Northumberland, and Fr Ted had spoken of his plans to do more cycling when he got home.
Bishop Peter Briggnal, Bishop of Wrexham, delivered the eulogy, and recalled much “patient service” and meetings where Fr Ted’s unruffled calm and “Scouse wisdom” were highly valued.
In the weeks before he died, Fr Ted, who, in his capacity as a religious teacher, trained two generation of priests for the OMI, also visited the oblates’ thriving mission in Brazil to celebrate 40 years since its founding.
However, the day after officiating at Mass in the parish on Christmas Day, as he prepared to set off to join a family gathering, Fr Ted died very suddenly of a heart attack.
Kevin spoke of an “inspirational uncle and a good friend” known in the family as “our Ted”. He should be remembered, Kevin said, as a man “completely at ease with himself, with his vocation and happy with his own mortality”.
Fr Ted was a keen singer and musician and generally sang a Mass setting unaccompanied.
Fellow member of the OMI, Father Paul Byrne, who trained with Ted in Ireland, said Ted had consciously “made a gift of his life” to others: to his fellow priests, to his parishioners and to his close extended family.