The reunion of those ordained from St Kieran’s College took place on the evening of Tuesday 22nd August. As is tradition, this reunion is held each year on the first Tuesday after the 15th August. It was wonderful, on that night, to welcome back so many past pupils of the College. In all over 40 men made the journey to St Kieran’s, from near and far, to recall time spent there in formation.
The evening began with a concelebrated Mass of Thanksgiving in the College Chapel. The main celebrant was Mgr Michael Ryan, Administrator of the Diocese of Ossory, and a former President of St Kieran’s. The choir from St Canice’s Parish added greatly to the atmosphere. In fact, well over 20 members of the choir joined for the celebration and their presence was truly appreciated by all those who had returned for the reunion.
After the Mass there was an opportunity for the traditional photos of those in attendance along with photos of those who were celebrating special Jubilees this year. Following this, all in attendance gathered in the Lanigan Room for the evening meal. As always the heart of the day is moments like this – when many old friends come together to recall fondly days and years spent in the College together. St Kieran’s College President, Fr Dermot Ryan, noted that of all the reunions in the College calendar this is the most important as those ordained from St Kieran’s represent all that is at the heart of what the College is about: faith and service of others. Fr John Lally, of Nottingham Diocese who is a golden Jubilarian, recalled fondly the time he and his class spent in St Kieran’s and gave thanks for the formation and preparation all had received in the College throughout the years.
We are already looking forward to next year’s gathering…
Below Homily of Mgr Michael Ryan at the Reunion Mass of Thanksgiving 2017.
Speaking recently during the Episcopal Ordination Mass of the new Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian Archbishop Eamon Martin said:
Our task is to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ whether it is welcome or unwelcome. ‘Remember we seek to present in public discourse a coherent ethic of life encompassing our precious teaching about the sacredness of all human life and the dignity of the person, about the centrality of the family, about solidarity and the need for a fair distribution of goods in the world, and care for the earth – our common home.’
In the decades that we have been privileged to minister to God’s people in whatever Diocese we are serving in, I believe what the Archbishop says is a good description of our life’s task in the service of the Lord. This evening we gather to offer this Eucharist in gratitude to God for the privilege it has been for us to journey with people in our parishes and other diocesan appointments we have held, sharing our faith and our understanding of the Good News, not afraid either to share our own weaknesses too and like St. Theresa of Calcutta to be honest enough to acknowledge that there were and will be dark days in our lives when God will seem far away.
How apt are the words of the Prophet Micah
‘Though I have fallen, I shall rise,
Though I live in darkness
The Lord is my light.
He will bring me into light
And I shall rejoice to see the rightness of his ways’.
I believe we owe a great debt of gratitude to the members of our families, beginning with our beloved parents and the many good and faithful people who keep us constantly in their prayers. This evening as we celebrate our various Jubilees and for me and the class of 1967 this is a very special reunion let us with great sincerity acknowledge the prayers, example, and encouragement of so many people who love us and love the gift of Priesthood too.
During the summer there was much publicity given in the Irish Media to the ordination of Deacon Philip Mulryne O.P. He had spent his youth as a gifted soccer player with a number of Clubs in England and then much to the surprise of his friends and fans turned aside from that very lucrative career to join the Dominican Fathers.
Speaking during his first Mass his brother Dominican, Fr. Ciaran Dougherty said
‘You are a servant, a friend, a brother, a father, one who offers sacrifice and praise on behalf of the people and for the people and as you work and pray for the salvation of others, others in their own way work and pray for your salvation.’
What you are you understand a little,
What you are to become, you understand not at all,
but God who has begun this work in you will bring it to its completion
and when he does you will fully understand what you are in the light of God’s full revelation of himself to you’.
When we reflect back on our journey to Priesthood we can see the plan of God for us revealed through the prayers, encouragement and example of our parents, priests we knew in our home parishes and the example of senior seminarians when we came to this College.
This very Chapel was so much part of our lives for six years and indeed for eleven for those of us who were on the layside. Here we tried to pray and often slept through meditation. Here we took part in so many Liturgies and in our simple way sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as to whether we should stay or leave.
Speaking at a Jubilee Thanksgiving Mass for priests in St. Peter’s Square on 3rd June 2016 Pope Francis concluded his homily with these words: “Dear Priests, in the Eucharistic Celebration we rediscover each day our identity as Shepherds. In each Mass, may we truly make our own Christ’s words.’ This is my body which is given up for you.”
This is the meaning of our life. With these words, in a real way we can daily renew the promises we made at our priestly ordination. I thank all of you for saying ‘yes’ each day, things that only the Lord knows about. I thank you for saying ‘yes’ to giving your life in union with Jesus, for in this is found the pure source of our joy.’
On a Summer Sunday morning in early June we prayed in this Chapel together and then walked down to St. Mary’s Cathedral where we answered Ad Sum when our names were called out. Not in any spirit of self-glory do we do so again this evening but conscious of the Feast that it is today ‘Feast of the Queenship of Blessed Virgin Mary’ may we humbly place all priestly lives under her protection – Mother of the first Priest, Jesus Christ, our Saviour our Lord.