Friday, 6 August 2010

A loving farewell

What a wonderful evening we all had yesterday at St Brigid's. Hundreds gathered to bid farewell to Fr James in the best way that we Catholics can - around the altar, and then socially in St Brigid's Hall afterwards. Everything went beautifully, and it was a real coming together of our 3 Churches - how easily the people mix together nowadays. A little group of us planned the liturgy in our normal 3 Churches way, and the Music Group played at their very best under the leadership of Clare Jackson. We even had a piece, an "Alleluia", written specially for the occasion by Dennis Mahoney.
Fr James presided and I preached then he spoke at the end of Mass, with a standing ovation at the end! Like so many, James is at his best when he speaks from the heart, and yesterday was no exception. We were joined by Fr Joseph, a friend of James who was visiting from Bangalore.
Then we all piled into the Hall where everyone had brought something for a Bring 'n' share buffet. We only just all fitted in - and that was at a time when so many are away, especially familes. The people had made a collection for James, and presented him with a very generous cheque. And he deserves it. So now James is chasing his tail getting ready to leave us on Monday.
For myself I am sad. Five years is the longest period I've had an assistant priest with me. I suppose we make an unlikely pair, but it's been a real joy and I will miss him. Pray for him as he goes home and looks forward to hearing where the Lord is sending him next. And pray for our 3 Churches as we too journey on (see the front page of this weekend's newsletter!). 
And so it will all start over again in September, when Fr Tomy, hopefully, comes to join us.

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