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Remarks by Councillor Martin Lonergan at the Mass of Thanksgiving and departure of Fr Bobby Power at Ardfinnan Church

Remarks by Councillor Martin Lonergan at the Mass of Thanksgiving and departure of Fr Bobby Power at Ardfinnan Church.

Fr. Bobby, special welcome to Mrs Power and the extended Power family, Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council, members of the Parish Pastoral Council, teachers of the Parish of Ardfinnan Grange and Ballybacon, and most of all and especially the young people here who are our Parish's and Communities future, and friends, I am delighted to join with you this evening at our Mass of Thanksgiving for Fr Bobby.

As we have known now with a few weeks, Fr. Bobby is moving to a new parish - albeit only over the road to Clogheen and Burncourt. Unfortunately, this will be his last Mass as Administrator here in the parish of Ardfinnan, Ballybacon and Grange! We accept this move to a new parish as a common and regular practice in our Church that priests move within their diocese to serve another parish after a set amount of time.

A little change, a little pain we must confess that Fr. Bobby's impending departure is painful for us. However, we are consoled by the fact that he will be merely be over the road in Clogheen and Burncourt and that Fr Pat will assume his Ministry here!

Fr Bobby's departure is not completely unexpected. He has been with our Parish for over 9 years as Administrator. He was able to relate to all of our parishioners, young and not so young. He is passionate in all he does within a parish and this is reflected in his homilies. In him is found a model of someone sincerely and profoundly tapped into the richness of the Catholic faith, which in turn, made us want to deepen our own relationship with Christ.

He knows what life is about, its joys and struggles because he is a religious man of prayer. He knows what God's love is about, full of mercy and hope, healing and filled with joy. It is a great combination for preaching - knowing God and knowing people.

His leadership stems from his love for God and for his parishioners. We thank you Fr. Bobby, you are a compassionate man, a friend to the sick and needy, a voice of hope for those who have been bereaved of loved ones. We shall never forget the kindness and support which you have shown us and of course your tolerance and forgiveness of our many imperfections, for been with us in the joyous times, in the sad times and in the dark and tragic times.

This evening, we have an opportunity to celebrate your good work and to remember the great bonds of friendship and love that you inspired throughout the community here in the Parish. I am proud to say that Fr. Bobby was our priest and our friend. All of us will miss you, no doubt at all.

We ask God to bless you abundantly as you begin your new mission at your new parish in Clogheen and Burncourt and I am sure, our paths will continue to meet on the way of faith.

We welcome Fr Pat Butler as our guider in faith and in Christianity ahead, we wish him many blessings and welcome!

In conclusion, if I can ask us all to pray, we ask Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, to take to your heart both your sons who are close to you because of their priestly ordination, and because of the power which they have received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which need them so much.

Be their comfort, be their joy, be their strength, and especially help them to continue to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated life!

Thank you and God Bless!