Tributes paid to Canon Gib­bons

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

Tributes have been paid to for­mer St Colum­bkille’s parish priest, Canon Tom Gib­bons, who was laid to rest on Mon­day.

Canon Gib­bons pass away on Sat­ur­day, Au­gust 20 at Ayr Hospi­tal af­ter a short ill­ness.

He was a well known fig­ure in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang, hav­ing served at both St Bride’s and St Colum­bkille’s.

Af­ter be­ing or­dained to the priest­hood in 1954, Canon Gib­bons’ first ap­point­ment was at St Bride’s in Cam­bus­lang.

From 1967 to 1982 he was ap­pointed to take charge of the Catholic Child Care Of­fices and in 1981 he moved to St Mon­ica’s in Coat­bridge.

He re­turned to the lo­cal area in 1997 to take over at St Colum­bkille’s be­fore re­tir­ing in 2010 and head­ing to Gir­van.

Af­ter mov­ing to the Ayr­shire coast, he be­came a much-loved mem­ber of the con­gre­ga­tion at Sa­cred Hearts of Je­sus and Mary Church and cel­e­brated his di­a­mond ju­bilee there in 2014.

Fa­ther Patrick Hen­nesey, who re­placed Canon Gib­bons in 2010, de­scribed his pre­de­ces­sor as “very pop­u­lar.”

He added: “He was a great speaker, very ar­tic­u­late and was much loved by his flock.

“He was great to me and made me feel very wel­come.

“When he moved down to Gir­van he got in­volved in the life of the parish down there be­cause he was such a peo­ple per­son and peo­ple got to know him very quickly.

“He loved to play golf and re­ally en­joyed all sport. He was also a great reader.

“Many great mem­o­ries have been shared in the parish over the past few days. He was very good at vis­it­ing peo­ple in hospi­tal and brought great con­so­la­tion to peo­ple who suf­fered a be­reave­ment.

“He loved wed­dings and bap­tis­ing ba­bies as he was very easy with peo­ple.” Canon Gib­bons was born in Mother­well in 1930. His time at St Colum­bkille’s saw him over­see a ma­jor re­fur­bish­ment of the church build­ing af­ter fire ripped through the hall in 2004.

In 2001 he led the fu­neral ser­vice of Celtic leg­end and Lis­bon Lion Bobby Mur­doch at St Colum­bkille’s.

Fa­ther Kenny Camp­bell, priest of St Bar­bara’s in Muir­head, said the homily at Canon Gib­bons re­quiem mass on Mon­day.

He said: “Canon Gib­bons served his parish­ioners with ded­i­ca­tion and care.

“In­deed, long be­fore Pope Fran­cis coined the phrase, he lived ‘with the smell of the sheep’ – he was al­ways close to his peo­ple. A pop­u­lar and much-loved priest of the dio­cese of Mother­well, he was a true shep­herd, al­ways close to God’s heart.”

Canon Gib­bons’ mor­tal re­mains were re­ceived into Our Lady of Good Aid Cathe­dral, Mother­well on Sun­day, Au­gust 28 be­fore a Re­quiem mass was held on Mon­day.

He was laid to rest at St Patrick’s Ceme­tery in New Steven­son.

Sad loss Canon Thomas Gib­bons, who was parish priest at St Colum­bkille’s in Ruther­glen for 13 years, has died

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