Saturday, 2 November 2013

Farewell and Welcome at The Good Shepherd Parish, St Leonards-on-Sea

Fr Ian (left) with Canon Tom (right) cutting the cake
The parish of The Good Shepherd recently wished a fond farewell to Father Ian Byrnes and a warm welcome to Canon Tom Treherne. Fr Ian had been with us for seven years, latterly guiding us through the choppy waters of the amalgamation of St Thomas of Canterbury and Holy Redeemer communities. Canon Tom was welcomed as our new spiritual leader to enable our growth as the parish of The Good Shepherd. Fr Ian is off on a sabbatical year, full of travel to both pastures old and new.

The mass was celebrated in St Thomas of Canterbury Church and the main celebrant was Bishop Kieran Conry. Many of the altar servers from both churches played their parts and Bishop Kieran commented that he had never seen so many servers! The joint choirs sang joyfully including the African Alleluia ‘Wamuka Muponesi’. As requested by Fr Ian, many wore their national dress which was beautifully colourful.

Bishop Kieran joked that he was not popular with Fr Tom’s parish for taking him away and his only recourse was to give them the one of the youngest parish priests in the Diocese. Canon Tom officially accepted his appointment and the documents were signed, followed by applause of welcome.

After mass, which ended with more spontaneous applause, everyone made their way to Concordia Hall where Barbara Okoliko and the Community Development Team had organised a buffet, including two large decorated cakes made by Pat Lee. Presentations were made to Fr Ian with speeches of gratitude and farewell, including some humorous memories from Ian Moon. After much eating and chatting, Fr Ian and Canon Tom jointly cut the cakes (pictured) - which were enjoyed by all.

The whole community wishes Father Ian well during his current Sabbatical year; he shall be missed. We also welcome CanonTom as our new spiritual leader, and look forward to working alongside him as we continue to grow in God’s strength and love.

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