Fr Larry Wallace’s Golden Jubilee Celebration

Words of Bishop Denis Nulty at Fr Larry Wallace’s Golden Jubilee Celebration in Muckalee Sunday 13th June 2021

It’s always a joy to be present for the celebration of a jubilee of a priest, and particularly when that celebration is rooted in the heart of the parish where the priest currently ministers. I am truly delighted to be here on this beautiful Sunday morning – the eleventh in Ordinary Time. Ordinary Time is a very good starting point for a celebration like today because it is in the ordinary that the ministry of a priest is most effective, in the ordinary run of the mill, in the pulse of parish, where the critical presence of a much loved and appreciated priest like Fr. Larry takes hold. Like the smallest mustard seed, its not about size or stature, it’s about presence and accompaniment. Being with the people in their moments of sorrow and celebration. Being simply present. It’s not rocket science but it is the gospel mandate to make the kingdom of God a reality.

Fr. Larry is a native of Windgap, ordained in St. Mary’s Cathedral Kilkenny on this very day – June 13th, 50 years ago. He was one of 224 ordained that year for Irish dioceses, for foreign dioceses, for the missions and for the religious orders. There were 42 in his class ordained out of Maynooth; there were 9 ordained out of St. Kieran’s College, one of them being another Ossory man, Fr. Eamon Foley. In all Bishop Peter Birch ordained eight men this day fifty years ago for ministry in Ossory, Miami, Leeds, Atlanta, Sacramento and Trenton. The Irish Church was hugely missionary then. Fr. Larry’s appointments have included St. Kieran’s College, Castlecomer, the Emigrant Chaplaincy in London, St. Patrick’s in the city, Windgap and here with you in Muckalee since 2003. He has served two periods as Vicar Forane and currently is the co-coordinator with Clare Rothwell of the Pastoral Area of Muckalee, Castlecomer and Clogh. Fr. Larry’s care for Fr. John Delaney is an indication of the man we are honouring and celebrating today – kind, concerned and generous to a fault.

At a recent audience with priests studying in Rome[1] Pope Francis invited them to “be pastors with the scent of your sheep, persons able to live, laugh and cry with your people – in other words to communicate with them … the ministerial priesthood is a consequence of the baptismal priesthood of the holy faithful people of God”. He invited them to become “apostles of joy” that the church and it’s people need today. Priests must have a sense of humour; priests must be comfortable in their own skin. Fr. Larry you are a very easy going happy priest and your priesthood is the best advertisement for vocations we could have today in Muckalee. I am honoured to present to you a gift from the people of the parish who love you – a Papal Blessing from Pope Francis – Ad multos annos.

__________________

[1] 07 June 2021 with Priests staying at the St. Louis of France residence for clergy in Rome

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