Friday, 24 June 2016

50 Years a Priest - Fr Liam Celebrates with Bishop Richard

L-R: Bishop Richard, Deacon Gary and Fr Liam O'Connor
The parishioners of English Martyrs Church in Goring by Sea recently celebrated the Golden Anniversary of the Ordination of their parish priest, Father Liam O'Connor. Father Liam was ordained at St John's College, Waterford, Eire on 12 June 1966. Although expecting to be appointed to parishes in the Southwark Diocese, Father Liam very quickly found himself attached to the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton which had been newly formed the year before, 1965. He was appointed to the parish of St. Barnabas, East Molesey in Surrey, where he served until 1970.

Over the following 36 years, Father Liam found himself for various periods at five different parishes, until, in 2006, he was sent to English Martyrs. During his ten years here, Father Liam has become a well loved priest, dedicated to the spiritual wellbeing of the parish family of God. In this Father Liam has lived out his promise of fifty years ago to commit himself as an instrument of Jesus Christ; to serve through sharing in the sacred ministry of Christ himself.

To mark this significant milestone, the celebrations started with a special Mass at 3.00 pm, concelebrated by Father Liam, Bishop Richard Moth and other priests of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. On this occasion the church was full as the parishioners came together, with Father Liam's family and friends from the parishes where he had previously served over the fifty years, as well as clergy from other churches in Goring. After the Mass, presentation was made to Father Liam to mark the occasion. This included a substantial cheque, a specially prepared anniversary candle and a Book of Memories, into which parishioners and friends had recorded their tributes and congratulations to Father Liam. After this, the celebrations continued with a buffet reception for all supported by the performers, Shenanigan, who provided music and song.

These took place in the grade 2 listed Barn, which had served as the first church until 1970, when the present church was brought into use. The church is well known as the home of the reproduction of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, painted over twenty years ago by Gary Bevans, who, as Deacon Gary, was present at the Mass and celebrations afterwards.

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