Neil Diamond, mentioned in the last post, has a song “I haven’t played this song in years” and it seems a while since I’ve put anything here. A few words for now then ….
A week ago we had a celebration in the parish for Fr Tom Freyne – a native of Kilmovee and now living in Knock. It was a jubilee celebration of his ordination day. Silver? No. Golden? No. Diamond? No – I had to Google to find out the name linked with this jubilee. It was his Platinum Jubilee. Tom was ordained in St Peter’s College Wexford on the 8th June 1941! He is seventy years in the priesthood. He still drives his car, celebrates Mass every day and basically enjoys life. It was a very pleasant gathering. The church was full with about twenty-five priests concelebrating Mass with him. Fr Tom ministered for most of his life in the diocese of Beauvais (France) and some priests and people from that diocese joined us as well.
After Mass we had a social evening and small presentation to mark this milestone event. I put a few pictures on Youtube so check it out below.
We prepared a leaflet for the Mass and these are the few words of welcome that were included:
Bonjour et bienvenue! A word of welcome to all who join us for this most special night when Tom Freyne a son of this parish, a priest of the Diocese of Beauvais and a valued member of the Pastoral Team at Knock Shrine, re-visits the joy of this day – June 8th – 1941 when he was ordained a priest in St Peter’s College, Wexford.
Fr Tom has much to celebrate this evening, not least fidelity to “God’s Call”. We rejoice with him as he thanks God for a long and fruitful Ministry. As he looks back and remembers, we go beyond June 8th 1941 to an upper room where Jesus sat with his disciples and taking bread and wine gave it to them as His Body and Blood with the invitation and the challenge “Do this in memory of me”. Though the full meaning of what was happening was slow to dawn on them, in time they came to an understanding and appreciation of all that had taken place. They began to take the bread and chalice as well, to share them and, through the sharing, to nourish all who came forward to receive.
Seventy years ago Tom began this journey of discovery and on the 9th June 1941 he celebrated Mass in this church in the presence of a priest for whom he had served Mass as an Altar Boy. The journey and the discovery continue but we can say for certain that for a lifetime the man around whom we gather this evening has indeed heard the words spoken in the Upper Room and has done much that is good “in memory of Him”.
It is indeed right that we give “thanks and praise” this evening and there is no more fitting setting than this church for us to do so. Join in prayer, share the joy, sense the hope and wish Fr Tom continued blessings as his journey continues.