Fond farewell to Fa­ther John


Bray People - - News - Mary FOG­A­RTY

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.

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