Sunday, 24 April 2016




On SATURDAY JUNE 4TH 2016 ( 5 weeks time) I will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of my priestly ordination in BELFAST.


The celebration will be in two parts - a Mass at 2pm and a meal at 5pm. 

Anyone who would be interested in attending - including any Blog reader - would be very welcome to either the Mass or the meal or indeed both.

The celebration will obviously involve members of our Oratory congregation in Larne, some members of my family, some friends and a number of priests. One priest from the USA will be joining us as will priest friends and colleagues from England and Ireland.

I have wanted to be a priest since I was a little child and fortunately today I am at least as happy, if not more so, to be a priest. 
Ordaining Mother Francis Meigh in 1978

I loved the Welsh people and the only problems I had in Wales were with some cruel and dictatorial old Irish parish priests who quite frankly treated their curate like dirt. 

The Archbishop of Cardiff, under whom I served, was an arrogant dictator called John A Murphy - who in spite of his name was clearly anti Irish. Having tried to resolve my issues with those pp's and Murphy I left and was designated a "fugitivus" - a canonical criminal :-)

Back home in Dublin I spent 9 months working voluntarily as a priest in a hostel for the homeless - saying Mass, scrubbing floors, making beds and cooking and serving food.

Then through a priest friend I found myself as a curate in St Peter's Cathedral in the Lower Falls from 1978 until 1983.

Divis Clean Up - early 1980's

Once again I loved the people of St Peter's and Divis Flats and worked well with them. Again I had problems with two of my fellow clergy in the parochial house - Vincent McKinley and Joe McGurnaghan. Things got very bad there until one night Father McKinley gave me a physical beating. 

Divis Festival after Clean Up

McKinley and McGurnaghan reported me to the bishop, Cahal Daly, who moved me to Kilkeel in County Down and Larne in County Antrim. 

Youth Club Committee - Attical - Kilkeel

In Kilkeel and in Larne I got on extremely well, as usual, with the people, and indeed I had a decent relationship with my two parish priests - Canon Walter Larkin (Kilkeel) and Father Paddy McVeigh (Larne). Incidentally Father McVeigh was buried just this week in Ballymena. 

Elected to Larne Council 1989

So a constant theme of my priesthood has been a very good relationship with ordinary people and parishioners and not such a good relationship with some clerical "illegitimates" (with some exceptions).

To me being a priest is about having a good relationship with God and being willing to to serve people 24 / 7.

Being a good priest is about caring, loving, understanding, encouraging and not judging or lording it over anyone. 

Celebrating Gay Blessings and Marriages

I have never agreed with priests having "surgery hours" and throughout my 40 years my door has been open all day and all night, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. 

Celebrating Irish Traveller Weddings

Considering the ups and downs I have had in the priesthood - sticking at it for 40 years is not a bad achievement.

My hope is to continue riding that Bucking Bronco to the end :-)

Anyone interested in attending on June 4th - ring 07900 287283 or email


  1. +Pat,
    Ad multos annos!
    You have more balls than any priest I know- including me. Keep up your very special work
    Priest D&C (Senior!)

    1. I am very grateful for your wishes and your compliment - whether I deserve it or not :-)

      Don't be too hard on yourself - you have obviously borne the heat of the day and still have a heart of flesh. Well done YOU !

  2. God bless,Pat. (--There is still time--)

  3. Congratulations, Pat, on your fortieth! May God bless you and enhance you in his spirit.

    1. Pat, you have, through God's unfathomable grace, touched (and changed) more hearts than you know. Be happy, for you have cause to be.

    2. If that is true then praise the Lord.

    3. Oh, it is true. Rejoice, you servant of the Lord.

  4. Despite having had such a hard time you look more comfortable now than 40 years ago. Ad multos annos.
    What happened to your contemporary who died?

    1. I am happier in my own skin than ever before. "The truth shall set you free".

      I think my contempory never achieved personal integration and may have taken his own life :-(

      Not owning oneself can often cost you everything !

  5. Dear Pat, congratulations on your 40th anniversary.

    We were at your 25th in DUBLIN. We walked into the church off the street - we were tourists - and you and your people made us so welcome and invited us to the meal. It made our Ireland trip.

    Bill and Maevis Burtnott. Boston USA.

  6. Pat, I live in the Divis area and I worked closely with you when you were in St. Peter's - 1978 until 1983. You worked tirelessly day and night in the church, in the schools, in Long Kesh, in the youth club, with the joyriders and you founded the Divis Residents Association. You were available both day and night. You might think that after all this time we have forgotten you. Some of us have not. Only the other night a few mates and I agreed that there would never be another Father Buckley. I can't believe that 33 years is passed since you were here. I was 20 then. Now I am 53. I have given up the whole Catholic thing. Too much shit. But I still believe in God because of you. I will be in touch. I will be at your anniversary Mass. Tommy B.

    1. Dear Tommy B, Thank you for such a generous comment. I got far more out of St Peter's and the people of Divis than I gave. I would have been happy to spend the rest of my life there. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Pat.

    2. Buckley! You are much more of an ass hole than His Grace the Archbishop of Toledo.

      You are a heretic and a schismatic and have been totally disloyal to the Church and the priesthood.

      Down and Connor would be a much better place without you and your heretic followers.

      Faithful Priest of D&C

    3. Dear FPD&C, I feel absolutely wonderful to be a "heretic" and a "schismatic" from the Roman Catholic Church - bulging as it is with corruption of every kind.

      The civil territory covered by your ecclesiastical area has been my home and hopefully will be my home until the end of my life.

      In the meantime I will do my little bit to continue to help repair the damage you faithful priests are doing by abusing power, money, children, womwn, men etc etc.

  7. I think it is wonderful Pat that you have challenged the likes of Faithful Priest of D&C.
    I have had the unfortunate experience of witnessing the arrogant and truly uncaring attitude of two Parish priests who had been moved in the last shuffle. This pair differently have not the smell of the sheep about them. Wouldn't you just love it if Francis paid an unannounced visit to their homes. I think even he wouldn't have a chance of seeing them, he would need to e-mail ahead.

  8. Bishop Pat; I am very angry by people like faithful priest above. It is them that has driven me and droves like me away from the catholic church. I am originally from Kilkeel and now living in London. As a 16 year old and very confused about my sexuality I spoke to you both in the confessional and the priests house in Massfort. You were a life saver and helped me through a very difficult time. I am now in my late 40s and work in finance and have a wonderful partner of more than 10 years. Happy anniversary.

    1. MourneManMichael25 April 2016 at 20:02

      Dear Anon @ 17:48: For a time I too was angry about so called "faithful priest" like figures I'd met up with. My own 'watershed' moment was meeting one such arrogant intolerant opinionated example of the species in 1971, which began my drift away from being a non questioning faithful follower to now long standing humanism.
      So I can no longer summon up enough energy to get angry with that ilk. Their predominant characteristics are self righteous intolerance of views and opinions other than their own narrow perceptions of their own god given exclusive perceptions via the miracle of wearing a Roman collar.
      From my own experience of having been through the seminary system, I've previously posted an opinion as to just how poorly and narrowly educated many RC priests are in anything other than sacramental practices and observances of their religion. So when I read comments like this "faithful priest", I recognise not the smell of the sheep from a caring pastor, but the stench of decrepit dinosaurs clinging desperately to their narrow beliefs and lashing out at anything that threatens to rock their boat. So rather than anger, I just pity those good hearted kind and faithful people seeking spiritual comfort, especially those of the older generation, who are saddled with such creatures as pastors.

  9. Congratulations on your 40th anniversary of being a Priest

  10. Dear Bishop,
    Your 'Faithful Priest' is certainly a "heavy hitter" but your reaction is over the top - the damage you faithful priests have done - seems to me a faithful priest would do no damage to any one!
    I knew and know priests I would consider better candidates fi canonisation than Pope John Paul. So I suggest you think a little before attempting a nuclear attack on everyone.
    Furthermore, I refer you to 21 April 00.02 -,requesting you or your peculiar disciple to explain his reaction - noting that "Pip" who does seem to have some knowledge of psychosis -,regards this person as dangerous to himself or others!
    I have always tried to take a balanced approach to everything - this type of person I have never encountered before!
    Thank you - if you have had occasion to do it - for blocking contributors wha use foul language.

    1. Dear Sam, I agree about Johb Paul - no candidate for canonisation.

      I have no idea who Pip is.

      If you saw some of the comments I consistently block you would be amazed.

  11. Pat, in dismissing you 30 years ago D&C lost a true priest and did you a grave injustice that has never been undone - out of false loyalty and lack of courage.

    Those criticising you, who are not fit to lace your boots, are people who fear the light you shine into dark corners.

    Never let them put you off your mission.

    Disillusioned D&C cog.

  12. Pip is a contributor on the same blog (?) to which I refer - before the peculiar creature - 21 April 00.02 - and worth looking at!
    He has not answered my request for an explanation - and you agreed with me!

  13. How sad "faithful priest" that you choose this particular entry on the blog to be so shamefully rude. What are you faithful to? How truly un-Christian is your comment? You may not like +Pat but I have seen many many comments over the years on this blog that testify to his unwavering compassion. What would people say about you?

    And on that note, +Pat I send my heartfelt congratulations on your 40 years. I would LOVE to celebrate with you but sadly won't be able to but I shall think of you and your good works on June 4th.
    Open Minded Parishioner

  14. Pat,
    You stink of sheep. It is a fine stench. In my mind you are the epitome of the priest as a vocation. Congratulations on your 40 years. I had contact with you many years ago in Divis and in Larne, and I retain only an impression of a man devoted to his flock, and who took his pleasure in ministering to his flock.
    Tell me this though, your history shows a pretty obvious inability to get along with authority or other priests. What is that all about? Have you thought about it?

    1. Thank you. I do have a problem with the establishment and establishment types. I feel people come before institutions and rules. I am perfectly open to the charge of being unwilling to bend to the prevailing view. That is either a weakness or a strength. I cannot be the jury in my own case. I only hope if I err, which I'm sure I do, I err on the side of compassion. Better to be guilty of an excess of love than another excess. In the end others must judge.

  15. There is an old song 21 years is a mighty long time In your case 40-Ad Multos Annos. When they say priesthood is ontological I believe it Its who you are not just what you do. I understand the 24 hour availability but it is important to have some switch off time to preserve sanity. I have had more "jobs" than hot dinners and now am preparing to leave the world of contact centre to work with a lad with Autism. Sometimes I wonder...should be thinking of retiring but no chance of that happening....onwards & upwards with the help of God

    1. Sean I agree but being available 24 7 does not mean you will be availed of always.

      Plus if you enjoy what you do ministry is a real pleasure.

  16. Dear Pat, continue with your good work, as my Granny always said " tell the truth and shame the devil ". I am a lady in my mid 50's , I have stopped attending mass regularly for about 2 years. I have attended funerals in this time out of respect for the person deceased and to show support for the families. My faith and love of God has not left me, I find myself praying to God when I'm shopping,when I'm walking,at all times. As Catholics we are bombarded by catholic teaching from a very early age, " get them young ". I believe by this stage in my life I have heard it all ! . I live my life using the golden rule, Do on to others as you would like done on to you. I have little time for this group of ultra conservative clergy who wouldn't have the first idea of how people are struggling in today's society. I feel sorry for the good priests , I know there are many, how do they deal with the others ?. Am I right in my understanding that it is not compulsory for the vow of poverty to be taken now by a priest ? When I was going up the local parish priest dear help him wore many clothes that were almost thread bare. Today designer puffer jackets and BMW's are order of the day. I hear the roar's "but what does that matter" but it does, when the church are continually asking for money. Collection for the up keep of retired clergy, building funds. where has all the money gone ?. Oh I just got a thought Lisbreen.

    1. Prayer should be like breathing - simply a continual awareness of the presence of God.

      Diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty. Jesus never said riches were bad. Not sharing is the sin.

      When I look at younger priests I see no spirituality - just young men in black interested in lace and as you say designer jeans for off time.

      Yes Lisbreen is sad. A remote man who likes antiques and fine wines.

      When the late Cardinal Heenan was a PP in East London a visitor noticed he had a hole in the soles of each shoe.

      Nowadays no cleric has no either a holy sole or a holy soul.

    2. Sorry for typos. Typing on small mobile phone keyboard :-)

  17. I won't tar them all with the same brush, but I can agree with your comment regarding holy souls. It can be hard to find them in clerical circles. ��

  18. this is to faithful priest. As a regular church goer can I say shame on you. Who do you think you are calling pat Buckley those names. It just shows what you are and what you are not. No wonder our church is in the state it is in. No wonder not one of my 6 children will go to chapel. They have a view of what priests are. You prove them right.
    Catholic Mother Twinbrook