Monday, 19 October 2015

FATHER CON BOYLE - A BRIEF PORTRAIT

FATHER CON BOYLE - A BRIEF PORTRAIT

Con Boyle



I was surprised to hear on this Blog in the past few days that Father Con Boyle - the parish priest of Randalstown in Country Antrim was very reserved, "private" and somewhat distant in the context of his parish and parishioners. I had always presumed he was very outgoing.



Of course there were also a few comments left on the Blog that were very complimentary to him.


And if you google Con the very first thing you will find is a BBC site full of information about him and his family and an amazing number of family photographs.

I think it was his Dad - another Con - who did a BBC programme about going to Rome when Con studied for for his ordination as a deacon by Pope John Paul II in the pope's summer palace at Castelgandolfo.

Con with the pope
In another picture it looks as if Con's father is having a great chat - maybe about the difference between farming in Dunloy in Antrim and farming in Poland. 


"Your Holiness, Did your family have a tractor or a donkey"?
After meeting the pope the Boyle family were given a tour of the pope's own farm in Castelgandolfo.


Con's diaconate with his parents


Con is from Dunloy and by the looks of a school pic on the BBC site he was a student in St Malachy's, Belfast.

Con at St Malachys. Who's that making faces in the window?


Con was later to become a priest on the St Malachy's College staff.



I did not know until I was told yesterday by a Down and Connor PP that Con had health problems earlier in life and was somewhat of a frail disposition. The late Cardinal Cahal Daly seemed to have great hopes for Con's rise in the church However when he was in St Malachy's he had health challenges and had to rest regularly. 


St Malachy's College, Belfast


The college nun, Sister Augustine, used to complain about having to make his bed up to three times a day. 


Cardinal Daly, in 1994 had Con appointed Vice Rector of the Pontifical Irish College in Rome but after a year or so there his health issues returned and he went to the USA to be looked after and recuperate. 


Irish College Rome


He returned to the Irish College briefly but then came back home to D&C to be involved in pastoral work. For a time he was a prison chaplain. 

Con was sent to Randalstown in 1997 - 18 years ago as parish priest. Many priests are surprised that he has been left there so long. Other priests have had three moves or more in that time. Maybe 18 years is too long in any parish. Maybe every priest and every parish needs a change. A few years ago it used to be thought that the ideal time for a parish priest in a parish was 10 years and 5 for a curate.

Con has at least one very notable classmate in the person of none other than Dean Hugh Kennedy the current incumbent at St Peter's Cathedral.



Dean Kennedy
Others in his Down and Connor class were Father Gregory Cormican and Father Denis McKinley. There was a fifth whose name I cannot recall just now.

In one way it is not surprising that Cardinal Daly had high hopes for Con's progress in the church. After all he mother, Eithne, was a great niece of Bishop Henry Henry of Down and Connor.

Bishop Henry Henry (1846 - 1908)
Of course Con is still a relatively young man at 59/60. Cardinal Daly's hopes for him could be realised were he to be appointed as auxiliary bishop of Down and Connor to fill the current vacancy? I think the priests would certainly prefer him to Wee Timmy. 

And he could then still be young enough to succeed Noel Treanor?






26 comments:

  1. Dear Bishop Pat, Thank you for this very informative blog on my parish priest. I learned more today about Fr Con than I have learned in nearly twenty years. You should do more blogs like this. It humanises our priests for us. Parishioner Randalstown.

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  2. I'd love to read a portrait on Gregory cormican

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    Replies
    1. As you may or may not know Gregory is not very well just now and we must be very sensitive to that.

      I have a good knowledge of his bio and will consider it for the future. Pat.

      Delete
  3. Dear Bishop Pat, I would to see a profile of our priest Fr Brankin. Can you fix it for me?
    Collette

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    Replies
    1. Dear Collette, I will certainly give serious consideration to your request. Pat.

      Delete
    2. Cloughmills Cathy19 October 2015 at 20:15

      Believe me you that is one profile you would not want to see - the most of it would have to be censored!

      Delete
    3. This Blog is not keen on censorship.

      Delete
  4. Fr. Con is a wonderful parish priest - We in Randalstown are lucky to have had him for 18 yrs and I hope he stays for another 18 if he'll have us!! His commitment and faith is such an encouragement and I hope he knows this and is encouraged in return! G.

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    Replies
    1. Well he only has 15 / 16 years to go to retirement and I doubt he will be in the same parish for 33 / 34 years ?

      PP D&C

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  5. MourneManMichael19 October 2015 at 18:26

    MourneManMichael19 October 2015 at 16:24
    Would it be classed as a 'miracle' if +Trainor were to ask the troops for opinions as to what he should be doing to plan for the inevitable absence of priests in Ireland in 20 years time?
    FR Brendan Hoban, speaking on behalf o the Association of Catholic Priests, says that the numbers are so obvious that a blind man can see it:......."there is a form of elder abuse in the church where priests are retiring at 75, but pressure is put on them to continure to say Mass and provide services, .....this nightmare in rural Ireland provides a division between priests and bishops on tackling the issue, and the Irish church is in denial about it at the highest level"
    The ACP suggests ordination of proven men of worth, including married men and former priests who left the priesthood, and the ordination of women as deacons.
    Discuss: a) the liklihood of +Trainor adopting this approach.
    b) the ACP views.
    MMM

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  6. Fr Con is in my opinion a sincere Priest, who if he has a fault, it is that he takes himself a little too seriously. His heart is in the right place, unlike his classmate "Dean" Kennedy who is an embarrassment to our Diocese.

    Priest of Down & Connor.

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    Replies
    1. Fr, I think everyone would agree with you. Con and the "Dean" are in two completely different leagues.

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  7. That is lovely picture of the Dean, Pat, you have. I would love a copy of it for my mantle piece. The twinkle in those eyes and that face so full of robust health. It would be a daily reminder of what priesthood truly means, an inspiration to really get out there and get your hands dirty and your feet sore, as you clamber up and down the coal face of peoples' lives. I can just see it now, in a lovely baroque frame, beside the replica of Michelangelo's David he brought me from Florence..

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    Replies
    1. You must be special! A present from Florence!

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  8. Hilarious! but I must dash. The disco is about to begin in Dromantine.

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  9. I've heard a couple of the clerics here in Dromantine phoning for taxis to the Brass Monkey in Newry. Is that a pub for clergy?

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    Replies
    1. I dont think so. It is a well known pub on the Dromantine side of Newry

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    2. Is the bar in Dromantine closed early?

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    3. Brass Monkey open till 1 am. Am heading there now. Dromore Cleric.

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    4. The "Dromantine Bar" as you call it is not a "bar". It is a facility for moderate drinking on a conference facility. Our meeting here in primarily spiritual and pastor - not an excuse for a piss up! D&C Cleric.

      Delete
  10. Any news from the Synod in Dromantine? Any feedback from your moles, Pat?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Better still Pat. Are there any reports from the Brass Monkey?

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  12. I once shook hands with Fr Boyle at a wedding in Randalstown. I notice in one of the photos here that a young Fr Boyle is shaking hands with Pope JP 2 now a saint. It makes me feel like the singer of the oft quoted words in the old song " I danced with the man who danced with the woman who danced with the Prince of Wales" lol

    Ballymena Barney

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  13. Fr Boyle has a lot of skeletons in his closet that the church have covered up. He is not a man of God nor a good person.

    ReplyDelete