The years of priestly service since 1991 were recalled and celebrated this week in Ballinabrackey and Coole, where Fr Martin Halpin and Fr Oliver Skelly respectively marked the 25th anniversaries of their ordinations.
Coole parish church hosted Fr Skelly’s jubilee Mass in the context of promoting vocations to the priesthood. With the customary touch of his good humour, Fr Skelly announced that “it is good to be alive; it is better to live as a priest; it is best to be a priest in the Diocese of Meath!”
A native of Kells, Fr Skelly served in the parishes of Tullamore and Kilcloon prior to his appointment as Parish Priest of Coole 15 years ago.
Fr Halpin chose to reflect on the theme of “celebration”. A priest is frequently described as a “celebrant”, he said. While in sporting circles celebration is shaped by victory or defeat, our Christian celebration is indifferent to either of these experiences. Rather, we celebrate the loving presence of God and His call to holiness of life.
In Ballinabrackey, Fr Halpin was joined by his brothers, family members, friends and parishioners. He came to Ballinabrackey 9 years ago, having previously worked in the parishes of Clara and Trim.