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Bishop’s Journal 15 07 21

During this current fortnight, I am able to enjoy the privilege of being with three particular, and special, priests at very different times in their priesthood, their life and their ministry.

Firstly, I celebrated with Mgr James Fealey the occasion of his Golden Jubilee of Ordination and his retirement; then, last weekend I celebrated with Fr. Matthew Bond whom I had ordained just hours previously; and last, but by no means least, I shall accompany Fr. John Bosco, AJ as he celebrates his Silver Jubilee of Ordination, next week.

Three very different men of very different ages, with very different cultures and backgrounds but having a share in the one ministerial priesthood, in common with all priests of the Catholic Church.

The words of a priest not known to me came to mind. Pondering on his sense of purpose in the parish to which he was appointed, he said in conversation with his bishop:

“Well, I am here simply to help people get to heaven. That is why I walk with them, in their joys and sorrows, in health and in sickness. I want to be with them.”

For Fr. Matthew, that journey will begin when he takes up his first appointment in Flint in September.

For Mgr Jim, that journey is now very different as he shares in a profound way the sacrifice and suffering of old age and infirmity along with his past parishioners.

For Fr John Bosco, who now could be thought of as being in the prime of his priestly ministry, is able to accompany the faithful with vitality and with the benefit of experience and the enthusiasm of the younger man.

On behalf of us all in the Diocese, I am happy to extend to them our congratulations, best wishes and prayers for their own journey in life and priesthood. We pray that they may be the sign of what lies beyond, that Beyond which will fill with complete happiness, the lives of all.

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