Father Michael C. Kelly, 53, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Purcellville,VA died suddenly Wednesday morning after a tree fell on him.The winds we had the last two days were incredibly strong, up to 50-60 mph. Considering that there was no "storm", the incredibly gusty winds were a force unto themselves. Today I helped put the roof back on the Church's Nativity scene which is constructed out of sturdy 4x4 posts and large sheets of plywood. The wind storm simply lifted the roof off like a sail; the angel on top was somehow undamaged.
According to published reports, the tree fell on him as he and another driver were trying to remove a large branch that had fallen onto Harmony Church Road in Loudoun County. High winds knocked out power throughout the region Wednesday.
Father Kelly had served as administrator of St. Francis de Sales from June 2006 to June 2007 when he was named pastor. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Purcellville is very woody; so it is completely plausible to assume that the wind was strong enough to knock down power lines, trees, and limbs. We need to pray for our priests, especially for the repose of the soul of Fr. Kelly, whose life and last act were a gift of service.