Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

In a June 1999 photo, Father Paddy Donaghey, second from left, pastor of St. Stephen the Martyr Church, Lilburn, smiles as he helps break ground for the parish’s first church. Archbishop John F. Donoghue, second from right, and Father James Fennessy, right, then pastor of St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn, assist in the ceremony. Photo by Kathi Stearns


Father ‘Paddy’ Donaghey, retired pastor and senior priest, dies

Published April 22, 2014

ATLANTA—Father Patrick “Paddy” Donaghey, a senior priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, died Tuesday, April 8, in Ireland. He was 65.

Father Donaghey was born on March 15, 1949, in Derry, Northern Ireland. He was the son of the late Charles and Rebecca Donaghey.

He was ordained a priest at St. Brigid’s Church at Carnhill in Derry on June 25, 1985, by Atlanta Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan.

Father Patrick “Paddy” Donaghey

Father Donaghey’s first assignment in the archdiocese was as a parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist Church, Hapeville. Other parishes where he served included St. Joseph Church, Athens, St. Francis of Assisi Church, Blairsville, St. Paul the Apostle Church, Cleveland, and St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn, before he became the founding pastor at St. Stephen the Martyr Church, Lilburn, in 1999. He was pastor there until he retired in 2013.

Father Donaghey had also worked with the Redemptorists, who were his teachers, in poverty-stricken areas of Brazil.

In a 1992 interview with The Georgia Bulletin, Father Donaghey said, “My training by the Redemptorists has had a big influence on me—the prayer life and community orientation. You find community with the people, and if a priest comes to the door, it’s open.

It was while working in Brazil that Father Donaghey decided to become a diocesan priest. Serving in a poverty-stricken area in the northeastern part of the country, he was touched by the people’s deep faith.

At the dedication for St. Stephen the Martyr, he spoke of his dreams for the parish back in 2001: “I hope that the people of this parish will grow spiritually closer to the Lord and witness to that every day of their lives. We want this church to be a little beacon of light in this little corner of Lilburn, where people feel welcomed, where other people will make them feel a part of this place. What we want to try to develop here is a family.”

The funeral Mass was celebrated on Friday, April 11, at St. Brigid’s Church at Carnhill.

Condolences may be sent to Father Donaghey’s niece, Selena Doherty, 3 Temple Park, Skeoge Road, Londonderry, N. Ireland.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 30, at 11 a.m. at St. Stephen the Martyr Church, 5373 Wydella Road, Lilburn.