70-year milestone for priest
THE oldest priest in the diocese of Meath yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of his ordination.
Born in Ballynabracky, Co Westmeath, on January 4, 1916, 95-year-old Fr Edward Flynn was ordained at Maynooth in 1941.
Fr Flynn was joined by Bishop Michael Smith and seven other priests who were celebrating their 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th and even 10-day ordination anniversaries in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath, yesterday.
Dr Smith described the gathering as "historic" and he gave Fr Flynn a set of rosary beads blessed by Pope Benedict.
Referring to how it was probably the first time in the history of the diocese that priests celebrated ordination anniversaries up to 70 years, Dr Smith said: "Our meeting together is an opportunity for priests from different generations to express their personal gratitude to Father Flynn.
"He fulfilled his role in the pastoral life, education and administration of the diocese of Meath with distinction and dedication. Even in retirement, he continues to support the mission of the church."
Dr Smith believes Fr Flynn to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, priests in Ireland.
Fr Flynn dispensed some advice to his fellow priests: "All we have is now and we should put all that we have into that present moment. So long as we pray, that is all that matters."
Fr Flynn was a professor of Greek, Latin and classics at St Finian's College, Mullingar, between 1943-1960.
He was curate in Kilmessan, 1960-1965, before moving to Kells from 1965-1972.
He was parish priest in Donore 1972-1981 and Parish Priest in Ballinabrackey from 1981 until his retirement in 1995.
He has been a resident in Portiuncula Nursing Home, Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath since 2005.