Went to Ballymote last night for the installation of James McDonagh as new Parish Priest.
Bishop Brendan Kelly was the Principal Celebrant at the Parish’s Vigil Mass and spoke around the Gospel Passage of the healing of the man who could not see or hear. He focused on the idea of people bringing this man to Jesus “they brought to him a man ….” and the role of “they” as Community. He said that without a community around him a priest’s life is lacking and that it is the community that gives fullest meaning to priestly ministry. He commended James to such a community – the people of Ballymote and Doo.
Following Mass there was a gathering in the local Pastoral Centre and it was lovely to see so many people assemble there to wish James well. So also to see, so clearly evident, their good wishes for and appreciation of Greg Hannan who had been Parish Priest and is now to be the curate in Ballymote. People were happy that though the roles had changed, those fulfilling the roles remain as were.
I was reminded last night of James telling me a number of years ago that when he was appointed to Swinford Parish he called to see his mother, (since deceased, R.I.P.) on his way to Swinford for his first Mass there. “What will I say to them?” he asked her. His mother’s response was direct – “Tell them they’re lucky to be getting you”!!! She wasn’t far off the mark and, though James laughed about this, there was truth in it. I felt that last night for the people in Ballymote – I didn’t say it though – in fairness, I think they know 🙂
Best wishes to James and Greg for the next chapter in their ministry in Ballymote and the diocese.