Fr. Aloysius McCourt ‘will be sadly missed’

Aloysius McCourt
Aloysius McCourt

He may have realised his vocation later in life than most of his ilk, but I always reckoned that he was priest in all but name. And I would be sure that I am far from alone in holding that particular opinion of Fr.Aloysius McCourt.

Son of John and Annie McCourt who ran a sweet shop in Irish Street directly opposite Hughes Bookies corner, he was part of a well-known Charlemont Street family. But I first remember Aloysius, working with Sally Kane (later to be Mrs.Teddy Devlin) in old Observer shop, which sold fancy goods and records.

Founder member of 1st Tyrone Pope Pius XII scout troop in 1959, he was inaugural scoutmaster and unit leader and his name will be forever synonomous with this commendable aspect of Dungannon life.

Indeed, he is attributed with being responsible in the 1970s for the building of the first scout hall, the updated premises still down at the foot of the steep hill that is Charlemont Street.

When the Observer shop closed down, the gregarious Aloysius started at Tyrone Crystal as a highly-regarded quality controller, the picture above showing him check a glass behind strategically placed lighting for the purpose.

But, having reportedly studied for priesthood as a young man but opting out due to family illness, in June, 1985 he was ordained. A curate in Ardboe, Moy, Cullyhanna, Cloghogue, Middle Killeavy and Loughgall, in 2002 he became parish priest of Stewartstown, where he died in his oratory ten days ago. He’ll be missed by all who knew him. May he rest in peace.