Thursday, 10 May 2012

Silver Jubilee Priest Made a Canon

Fr Kieron Celebrates Mass of Thanksgiving for his Priesthood
FR KIERON O’BRIEN, PARISH PRIEST OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCHES OF ST RICHARD’S, CHICHESTER, OUR LADY’S, BOSHAM AND ST PETER’S, THE WITTERINGS, RECENTLY CELEBRATED 25 YEARS OF PRIESTLY SERVICE: Some 275 people including parishioners, former parishioners and family together with 25 clergy including his Bishop, Kieran Conry and former Bishop, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor joined to give thanks for 25 years of priestly ministry of Fr Kieron. There was a packed Church for the celebration of the Mass of Thanksgiving which was followed by a reception in the parish hall afterwards.

Fr Kieron O’Brien, trained for the priesthood at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh near Guildford, for the Catholic Diocese of Arundel & Brighton which covers Sussex and Surrey. He also studied at the English College in Rome. He was ordained 25 years ago on 9th May 1987. He said: “As a young man I felt I had to answer God’s call and follow my vocation, and as a result I have been blessed with 25 years of joy in the priesthood.”

Fr Kieron, as well as his parish work and his diocesan work as Coordinator for the Safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in the diocese, has a great love of cycling. He often finds time on his days off to get on his bike and enjoy the Sussex countryside. In the past he has carried out sponsored cycle rides from Sussex to the Lourdes in the South of France to raise funds for the sick, so they can go on pilgrimage to Lourdes to the famous shrine of Jesus’ mother, Mary.

In his homily Fr Colin Wolczak who was ordained in the same year as Fr Kieron reflected on the call of the Spirit, set out in the reading at the Mass from the prophet Isaiah, to bring good news to the poor and bind up the broken hearted. Fr Kieron had done this during his 25 years of service and especially in his work on Safeguarding ensuring that God’s little ones are as best protected from harm in this diocese as they can be. It was clear from the numbers of people filling the Church that evening that Fr Kieron had indeed done all the Spirit had asked of him, bringing said Fr Colin “hope and joy to the people he has served.”

Fr Kieron was ordained priest on 9th May 1987 in the Parish of St Francis & St Anthony, Crawley by Bishop Cormac Murphy-O’Connor (now Cardinal Cormac). He has served in the Chichester parish for eleven and a half years. Before this he has served in parishes in West Byfleet and Crawley as well as being secretary to Bishop Cormac for four years and serving on the staff at the English College in Rome for two.

At the end of the Mass Bishop Kieran Conry spoke warmly of Fr Kieron’s hard work as a priest especially in respect of Safeguarding and announced that in recognition of all of this he had been appointed a Canon of Arundel Cathedral, for which there was loud and sustained applause. The Mass ended with a final blessing from Fr Kieron to all present.

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