Pastor’s Desk 13th May 2021
Fr George celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination on Monday 7 June with a beautiful Mass.
This is his homily:
I would like to share a little of my journey towards priesthood. I grew up and went to school in Maynooth, and was in the first class to graduate from the Maynooth Post-Primary School 50 years ago this month. I worked in McDonald’s Oil Co., which later became Tedcastle Oil Products, but was made redundant after six months. Thereafter I began work in the motor insurance company P.M.P.A. and stayed with them until I began my studies in Clonliffe College in 1975.
Things weren’t all plain sailing, as I failed many exams and wondered whether I would make it through. I wasn’t quite sure that I was on the right path. In 1980 I was due to be ordained a deacon, the year before priesthood, and I began to panic a little, so I asked the President of the College whether I could put off that ordination for a year. He said that would be ok as long as it was my own decision. Johnny Logan sang “What’s another year?” in Eurovision that year, so I took it as a sign. I was out in a school in Kilmore West a few weeks later trying to teach 6th Class children this lesson from the Gospel: “Consider how the wildflowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will He clothe you—you of little faith! ” I couldn’t believe it. Here was I teaching these children to trust in God but I had not been prepared to trust in this same God. I went back to the President, asking him whether a fellow was allowed to change his mind. Once again, he said ok, as long as it was my own decision.
I owe my priesthood to that Gospel. I remember thinking that I would try priesthood for a year, and I just can’t believe where the time has gone. I suppose that I’m still sharing my story wherever I go—sharing how I have encountered God and hoping that my experience will resonate with you, to help you to realise that you meet God every day too, but you may not put those words on it. In every parish it’s the serving of the people that it’s all about. I thank God for those I have met along the way. Just before our first appointments we had to meet the late Archbishop Dermot Ryan, who asked us what we would like to do. I told him that working in a parish was all that I knew. “What about teaching?” he asked, and I remember answering that for the good of the children he shouldn’t send me to teach . Thankfully he didn’t, but he didn’t send me to a parish either, but to Peamount Hospital, where I had the privilege of being with so many people who left this world for the next and also tried my best to look after the staff there. I went on to parish life in Confey, then Kilbarrack/Foxfield, had a sabbatical in Gonzaga University Spokane for a year, returned to Bray, on to Huntstown/Littlepace, and now happily with the people of Lusk.
I ask you to pray for me as I pray for you, your families, and our entire parish together. Thank you for wishing me well on this special occasion.
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