Fr Danny McDonald marks 40 years in the priesthood with special ceremony
Forty years in any vocation is a long time and friends, colleagues and family of Fr Danny McDonald gathered to mark what is a real milestone with a special ceremony in his present parish of Marshalstown recently.
A native of Wexford town, Fr Danny was ordained at St Peter's College on May 28, 1978. From there he spent some time 'on loan' as he puts it, in Ballyfinn, Co Laois, where he was the chaplain for the Patrician College. The call of his hometown was too much to resist, however, and in 1981 Fr Danny returned to his native Wexford where he served as chaplain at Wexford Vocational College until 1997. Following this he spent some time in Mulrankin and Tomhaggard before settling into his current role in Marshalstown where he has been since 2005.
It was a real community effort on behalf of the parishes of Marshalstown and Castledockrell to mark the occasion and Fr Danny's family all played a role in a special Mass, celebrated by Bishop Denis Brennan and attended by several colleagues from across the diocese, with the Ballindaggin Pipe Band also playing a role. Afterwards it was back to the Riverside Park Hotel where everyone grabbed a bite to eat and some presentations were held.
'It was a great day,' he said. 'I really enjoyed it and I think everyone else who came along enjoyed it. It was a real community effort.'
Looking back on his career, music featured highly on the agenda for Fr Danny. He noted his friendship with country singer Shawn Cuddy from his days in Laois and also how he started the folk group at Wexford Vocational College which featured on several radio masses over a number of years. One thing he's particularly proud of, however, is the establishment of the Sailors' Home memorial at Tomhaggard Graveyard.
'There was a large amount of sailors who lost their lives who were never commemorated,' said Fr Danny.
'We cleared out a part of the graveyard and put in a memorial stone to all those who had lost their lives off the Wexford coast. It's a fitting tribute and something I'm proud to have been involved in.'
Fr Danny thanked everyone who took part in marking his forty years in the priesthood and looks forward to many more happy years serving the people of Marshalstown and Castledockrell.