Yesterday, June 6 th was the 45th anniversary of my ordination in the cathedral in Waterford on June 6th 1976 by Bishop Michael Russell.
I can’t believe where the time has gone.
I am very grateful to God for the grace and strength he has given me always, but especially these 45 years. I could not possibly have persevered without God.
By any means, I have not lived the life of an ordinary priest.
I’ve had great times and joys and great challenges.
1. My ordination day.
2. My mother Jo, my dad Jim, my sisters Margaret and Clare and my brother John.
3. My aunts and uncles especially Phylis and Joan.
4. (My grandmother Kate.
5. The people of St Cadocs, Llanrumney Cardiff as deacon Summer 1975.
6. My partner Eddie.
7. The people of the parish of Bridgend Wales as curate 1976 – 1977.
8. The people of Briton Ferry, Swansea, Wales 1977 – 1978 as curate.
9. The people of St Peter’s Cathedral Belfast as curate 1978 – 1983.
10. The people of Kilkeel parish 1983 – 1984 especially Mary Murphy.
11. The people of Larne parish as curate 1984 – 1986.
12. The people of the Oratory, Larne as priest and bishop – 1986 – present 2021.
13. All the couples I’ve married. All the wonderful people whose funerals I’ve celebrated.
14. The people who have allowed me to minister to them over the years – the sick, the prisoners, the homeless, the gay people, and all those who have accepted from me counselling, support and love.
THE PRIESTS WHO HELPED AND INSPIRED:
Canon John Pierce PP Dublin. RIP
Father Joe Collins CC Dublin. RIP
Archbishop McQuaid. Dublin. RIP
Father John Hyde SJ. RIP
Monsignor John Shine, Waterford. RIP
Father Tony Hayes, Rosminian, Waterford. RIP
Canon Philip Dywer PP. Cardiff. RIP
Canon Eddie Mullins PP Cardiff. RIP
Monsignor Patrick Mulally VG Belfast. RIP
Father Jimmy McCabe CC Cathedral Belfast. RIP
Father Des Wilson. Belfast. RIP
Father Paddy McVeigh PP Larne. RIP
Canon Walter Larkin. PP Kilkeel. RIP
Father Michael Keane. Mayo. RIP
Father Tony McCarthy. Dublin.
THE PRIESTS WHO CRUSHED MY SPIRIT.
Archbishop John Murphy. Cardiff. RIP
Father Bernard Driscoll. Bridgend. RIP.
Canon Patrick Creed. Cardiff. RIP.
Bishop Cahal Daly. Belfast. RIP
Bishop Paddy Walsh. Belfast.
Father / Bishop John McAreavey. Canon lawyer.
Father Vincent McKinley. Cathedral. Belfast. RIP.
Father Joe McGurnaghan. Cathedral. Belfast. RIP.
Canon Sean Rogan. Belfast.
GOOD ONES – 15.
BAD ONES – 9
The good ones win 😁. Sorry Magna!
Everyone’s life is a mixture of joys and sorrows, successes and failures, dreams and nightmares.
Mine has been like that too.
But overall I have been very happy, very fulfilled and very blessed and fortunate.
In life, to survive is a great achievement.
And to survive and never to have lost your faith, hope, optomism and joy is an even greater achievement.
I think that my life can be summed up in Ernest Hemingway’s mighty quote:
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially”.
I have been “broken” but not destroyed. I am a bit like the horse that needs to be “broken” in order to function. But such a horse retains its indomitable spirit to the point where the rider knows not to push it past a certain point. Otherwise the horse’s primal spirit bursts forth and then it is the rider who will be in trouble.
And there is a very important distinction between been “broken” and “destroyed”.
Our brokeness is actually a great strength. It glues us to the broken Christ and also creates within us a great compassion for broken others.
There’s an awful lot to be said for life’s “cracked cups”.