MY 40 TH ORDINATION ANNIVERSARY IN BELFAST
|ORDINATION PHOTO - 1976|
BACK ROW FROM LEFT: JOE SEERY (RIP); JOHN TUOHY; JOHN FLYNN; PAT.
FRONT ROW FROM LEFT: JOE McCARTHY; MONS SHINE (College President) BISHOP MICHAEL RUSSELL; OLIVER CURRAN
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 firstname.lastname@example.org