Monday 16 May 2011

Prior Provincial pays tribute to Fr Tony Pelan, O.Carm.

Following the death of Fr. Anthony (Tony) Pelan, the Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, has written a tribute noting his contribution to the Order's life in various communities over 50 years.

Fr. Anthony Pelan died peacefully at Burrswood Christian Hospital near Tunbridge Wells early on 11th May.

Fr. Anthony was born in 1940 in West Belfast. He was one of five boys and he grew up in a community where the Catholic faith was central to people’s lives. As a teenager he was involved in church life and his decision to join the Carmelite Order was the result of meeting a Carmelite friar, Fr. Eltin Griffin. Fr. Eltin was giving a parish mission and Anthony was able to discuss his hopes with Fr. Eltin.

After some time at St. Mary’s College, Aberystwyth, (a late vocations college), Anthony began his novitiate at Aylesford Priory in 1961. He went on to study in Ireland and was ordained in 1967 at Aylesford.

Over the years Fr. Anthony exercised ministry in various communities of the British Province of Carmelites. He ministered in Aberystwyth and was a popular chaplain with the university students. He is well remembered in Faversham where he was parish priest for many years. He had a friendly approach which was appreciated. Fr. Anthony was drawn to the charismatic movement and was involved in prayer and praise groups. Latterly he was chaplain to Maidstone Prison. Here he won the respect of staff and inmates and was always ready to walk the wings.

Fr. Anthony was always cheerful and energetic. He loved a game of golf and was no mean player. He was also blessed with many loyal friends who valued his presence.

Fr. Anthony began to feel unwell after Christmas but his final illness was short. He was given great care by Maidstone Hospital, Trish Golledge the Province Nurse, and the Carmelite Community at Aylesford and beyond supported him with care and prayers. He appreciated the Christian atmosphere at Burrswood and he felt ready to allow the Lord to call him.

The Carmelite Order grieves at losing a brother and extends its love and prayers to Fr. Anthony’s family who were such an important part of his life.

May he rest in peace.

The reception of Fr. Anthony's remains will take place at Aylesford Priory at 6pm on Tuesday 17th May, and his Funeral Mass and Committal will take place there at 11.30am on Wednesday 18th May.


  1. I would like to pay tribute to Fr Tony, whom I had the privilege to serve as Director of Music and Parish Council Chairman in Faversham.

    Fr Tony's arrival in Faversham came as a vivid demonstration of the amazing diversity and vigour of the priesthood. He followed what many of us regarded as a saint but he showed that you do not need those super-human qualities to be a great priest or to touch the hearts of the faithful. Doubtless, Fr Tony's success owed something to his loving and open character and his generous Irish heart. But illuminating and warming everything was his wonderful faith. It was that which meant that he could not fail to evangelise. Whether golfing with us, drinking with us, following the horses with us, partying with us, laughing or weeping with us . The truth could never be hidden. Here was the real thing. Here was that before which human cleverness falls away and clerical contrivance shrivels. Humility before God. Fr Tony, thank God for you, a good and humble priest who will live on in our hearts. Requiescat in pace.

  2. Goodby Tony. You will be missed in Faversham
    May God bless you and take you to his bosom.