A parish celebration took place on Friday 14 June in Curraha to celebrate Fr Phil Gaffney’s silver jubilee.
Fr Gaffney presided at the Jubilee Mass in the Church of St Andrew, Curraha after which a gathering of family, friends and parishioners was hosted by the local committee in the adjoining parish centre.
During his homily, Fr Gaffney offered the following reflection:
This evening we gather as a Parish community to celebrate my 25 years of priesthood. I do so with the Parishioners I have ministered to and with for the past seven years as well as friends and colleagues and family who have journeyed with me over those years and beyond.
My first 15 years as a priest was spent in St Finian’s College, Mullingar first as a Dean of Discipline in the Boarding school and later as a teacher. It was a pleasure working with young people and the staff there. It was then time to change career and go to Ratoath and work in a parish for the first time. I teamed up with Fr Gerry who was Principal in St Finian’s College, Mullingar for most of my time there. Ratoath was one of the fastest growing parishes in the country at the time and I got a good taste of ministry there and really enjoyed my time there.
Almost seven years ago now I came here as Parish Priest and I have enjoyed the challenge of running two parishes. It is only possible with the support of so many parishioners who are involved in so many areas of parish life. The fantastic community spirit here was one of my first impressions and at every event here there is wonderful support and co-operation. With the smaller number of priests and a greater workload, that support from parishioners is vital. Parishioners taking ownership of the parish with the support of the priest is more vital than ever before.
We are called as children of God to live our faith as a gift received from God who is revealed in Jesus Christ. We are called to witness to that gift of faith in a doubting and uncertain world, in whatever life we have chosen whether as clergy or laity, as parents or as single people, also in a world which is searching and seeking for something deeper in life. Our challenge is to reach out to those who have drifted away from faith or feel marginalised by the church, many of whom lead good lives.
Between our birth and our death we are pilgrims on the road to God. We are but travellers on a journey, pilgrims on a pilgrimage to God.
Because we are but travellers, only pilgrims on our journey through life, knowing that our final destiny is with God, we keep our sight always fixed not just on the appearance of this life, but on the fact that we were created by God, that we cannot be truly happy unless we live as God wishes us to live, and of course God wants only what is good for us, we keep our eyes fixed on the fact that our destiny is eternal life and not just death.
Photos from the celebration were kindly taken by Simon McDermott and they are available at www.leinsterphotography.com/FrPhilGallery. Simon’s number is 0876557251.