It is with a heavy heart that we announce the death of the Orders Supreme Chaplain Fr. Joe McKeever.
Warm tributes have been paid to the former Crossmaglen parish priest who has passed away from Covid-19.
Portadown native Fr Joe McKeever died at Craigavon Area Hospital on Saturday morning.
The retired priest has been described as a “great character” who was well-known right across Co Armagh and beyond.
Fr McKeever taught at Drumcree High School for a number of years before he entered the priesthood, when aged in his 40s.
He was recently appointed as Supreme Chaplain of the Order by Supreme Knight Brendan McCann, a close friend and colleague. Fr. Joe held the post of Deputy Supreme Knight at the young age of 37 before answering the call to the priesthood, but retained his links with the Order throughout his life.
During the Orders online Mass today Fr. Joe was fondly remembered by the Supreme Knight as “a valued and dedicated member of the Order and a good friend to all that knew him, a man of faith and full of character”.
Crossmaglen Rangers, who Fr Joe supported closely, said “players, members, supporters and friends are deeply saddened to learn of [his] passing. “Fr Joe, former Parish Priest of Upper Creggan was a loyal, devoted and passionate supporter of Cross Rangers. We all have fond memories of Fr Joe enjoying many successes with us. We send our sincere condolences to the entire McKeever family at this difficult time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”
McKeever’s Bar in Portadown – owned by Fr Joe’s family – posting on their Facebook page, commented: “As I am sure most of you have now heard of the sad passing of Fr Joe McKeever.
“As you can all imagine we are all deeply saddened with this loss. Fr Joe was more than just a priest to us. He was a brother, an uncle, a teacher, a mentor, a dear dear friend to everyone.
“He will be missed more than words can convey. We love you Joe.
A private funeral will take place for Fr. McKeever with Requiem Mass being celebrated at a later date.
His death is deeply regretted by his religious family, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Bishop Michael Router, Cardinal Seán Brady, the Priests of the Archdiocese, family circle and many friends.