Declan Donnelly said he was “heartbroken” after the death of his brother, Father Dermott Donnelly, at the age of 55.
The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle announced the news on Friday that the Catholic priest had died in hospital that afternoon after a brief illness.
TV star Declan, 46, wrote on Twitter: “I am heartbroken to tell you that my beloved brother, Father Dermott, @TweeterPriest, has sadly passed away this afternoon.
“We are not all devastated. Thank you for your messages of sympathy and support, they really appreciate DD. “
In 2015, Dermott’s father celebrated his brother’s wedding to Ali Astall in Newcastle in a star-studded ceremony.
A statement from the dioceses of Hexham and Newcastle said: “We are deeply saddened to inform you of the death of Father Dermott Donnelly, who passed away peacefully in hospital this afternoon.
“This is a huge shock to all of us.
“Please pray for his soul’s burial and keep his family, especially his mother, in your prayers at this difficult time.”
Father Dermott recently celebrated 30 years of service to his parish and community, where he is best known for his work with young people and youth ministry.
He was a member of the chaplain for St Joseph’s Church in Stanley, County Durham.
Bishop Robert Byrne of Hexham and Newcastle said “he will be greatly missed for his energy, enthusiasm and ability to bond with all who met him”.
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He added: “This is especially true in his work with young people and youth ministry in the Diocese – bringing many disadvantaged and disadvantaged young people to Christ.
“He really lived his faith, and in so doing, he gave so much to others.
“With immense gratitude we will remember him and all he gave selflessly.”
Bishop Robert noted that because Father Dermott was born and raised in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, he and his extended family were well known to the local community.
He added: “Our prayers and condolences should go to those who will be grieving strongly at this time.”
Stanley, Dipton & Byermoor Catholic Parishes also shared the news and asked parishioners to “pray for his soul”.
The group announced on Thursday that Father Dermott was “very unwell” in hospital and had been praying for him.
A similar message was posted on the Facebook page of the Pontop Partnership – a group of 10 Catholic parishes in the dioceses of Hexham and Newcastle.
After news of his death, those who knew him and worked with him shared a series of tributes on social media.
During his career, Father Dermott has been a supporter of the charity the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod), the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Cafod’s head of education, Monica Conmee on behalf of the charity paid tribute to Father Dermott, saying: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Father Dermott Donnelly, a great friend of Cafod, who witnessed the burning passion and complete commitment of life to all.
“Father Dermott has chosen to stand in the light, and through his immense talent and gift, he has generously guided thousands of young people to experience the love and light of God in their own lives, spreading the word. inspire them to share this with others.
“Unforgettable moments at the top of the mountain for so many young Catholics are the Flame event at Wembley Arena, in which Dermott is the guiding and motivating light.
“We are extremely honored to work closely with Father Dermott to enable the voices of the poorest and most vulnerable to be heard.
“Father Dermott will shine forever. May the angels come to greet one of them.”
In 2014, Father Dermott appeared on Songs Of Praise alongside CBBC’s Hacker T Dog to answer questions about the church that CBBC audiences had sent in.
Joseph’s Church in Stanley will hold a meeting at 6:00 p.m. on July 8 to pray for Father Dermott.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/declan-donnelly-heartbroken-after-death-of-his-brother-father-dermott-age-55-41825609.html Declan Donnelly ‘heartbroken’ after the death of his brother Father Dermott at the age of 55