Fond farewell to Father John
HONOURED 34 YEARS AT HOLY REDEEMER
HUNDREDS of parishioners and well wishers descended on the Holy Redeemer Church on Monday night to bid a final farewell to Parish Priest Father John O’Connell.
‘I was declared a saint but too humble to accept,’ was Father John’s witty response to the enjoyable celebration held in his honour.
For 34 years Father John has been a priest at the Holy Redeemer and in that time he has gained great respect from not only his parishioners but also the people of Bray.
At the age of 75 he took his retirement humbly.
As he said on Monday evening many have said to him that now he can live his life as he wants and not be at the beck and call of other people.
His response was simple; ‘That is not for me. The implication is that pre-retirement life was a burden reluctantly bourne. In fact my life for the past 51 years as a priest in the diocese of Dublin and as Parish Priest in Holy Redeemer was a very satisfying, fulfilling and challenging life.’
The response is typical of Father John, a man who was not only a Parish Priest but a person that was involved with the community and who enjoyed being a part of that community and watching the people of Bray grow, many of whom he would have baptised, confirmed and married.
It was obvious by the turn out on Monday night that Father John is a priest that will be remembered for many years in the town of Bray.
At 7 p.m. the crowd joined Father John in a celebration mass that was brought to life with the music of all the Holy Redeemer Choirs. Afterwards the large gathering moved to the Little Flower Hall for a reception. The hall was packed with parishioners who enjoyed refreshments and a chat.
Father John was delighted to see so many familiar faces and was overwhelmed by the huge turnout.
When asked if now he will return to his home county of Kerry his reply was no.
‘I feel like W.B. Yates when he wrote: ‘think where man’s glory most begins and ends: and say, my glory was I had such friends’ I have great friends in Bray and I thank God for them.’
He then welcomed his successor Father Derek Smyth and hoped that he would have as a fulfilling time in Bray as he has.
‘Bray has become the town I love so well’. May God be with each and every one of you,’ Father John concluded.
ABOVE LEFT – Fr. John O’Connell with the altar servers at his farewell Mass (from left) Clare Ann Bourke, Conor O'Doherty, Liam Hiney, Eimear Ivory and Emily Doyle; ABOVE RIGHT – Fr. John with (from left) Fr. Sebastian, Fr. Derek and Fr. George.
Fr. John O’Connell (right) with Fr. George.