At the 10.00am Mass today (Sunday September 13th) I will be inducted as Parish Priest of Kilmovee. My good friend, Monsignor Tommy Johnston, will be the Bishop’s delegate at Mass and will lead us in this ceremony. I asked John Maloney to include a few words in this week’s Parish Newsletter so I’m including them here –
On this day …
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
On Sunday September 13th 1981 I travelled with my parents to St. Patrick’s College Maynooth to begin my studies for the priesthood. My hope, that day, was that I would go the distance and one day be ordained a priest for the diocese of Achonry. I can’t and don’t claim to have known then the full implications of that hope. All I knew for certain was that there was something inside of me that believed this was the road I should travel. I knew also that I had the support and prayers of my family and friends and that was enough for then.
Maynooth was enormous. Even its corridors seemed endless and I wondered how I’d ever figure out my way. I looked at the buildings, the College Chapel, oratories, dining hall and all seemed to remind me how small I was and possibly insignificant too. The tail lights of my parents’ car served only to remind me that I was losing sight of what was familiar and taken for granted. Truth told, I’d possibly have been happier going home with what was secure than making my way into the unknown.
It may have been on the Monday or quite likely Tuesday that I realised I was looking at the wrong things. Yes the buildings seemed huge but I should have been looking at the people – my classmates and others who, like me, were on a journey. Once a few friends were made. Once a few stories were shared and laughter was heard, Maynooth seemed smaller and never again did its corridors seem endless. I’m sure there were things about Maynooth that never revealed themselves to me but I was happy to be there.
I went the distance in Maynooth and was ordained. I still don’t claim to understand everything that priesthood is about but twenty-eight years later, to the day, I begin another journey as I become your Parish Priest. Though I spent the first months of my priesthood in this parish much time has elapsed since then. The PARISH seems big – its roads and byroads endless, its churches new to me but now I know my peace and direction will come from YOU – the men, women and children of Kilmovee, Urlaur, Kilkelly and Glann because God lives in you and you in God. We will share stories, time and journey. Hopefully we will laugh. We will pray. We will look for headlights not tail lights and, together, make this place – this Church – our home, our beginning and our destination.
Thanks be to God. Thanks to Fr John Maloney for his welcome and to Fr Farrell Cawley for the many good works already done. Thanks to my family who travelled with me to Maynooth and never stopped travelling with me. Thanks to the Parishes that have made me welcome in the past, to friends made and kept and finally, thanks to you for being here today and, please God, for being here tomorrow too.