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Popular priest Fr Joe Power celebrates the golden jubilee of his ordination


Members of the clergy in attendance for Fr Joe Power's jubilee mass. (Pic: Joe Guinan)

Members of the clergy in attendance for Fr Joe Power's jubilee mass. (Pic: Joe Guinan)

Members of the clergy in attendance for Fr Joe Power's jubilee mass. (Pic: Joe Guinan)


IT was a case of standing room only in St. Brigid’s Parish Church, Kilrush, on Sunday as members of the clergy along with a very large group of parishioners gathered for a concelebrated Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the 50th anniversary of the ordination of parish priest, Very Rev. Joseph Power.

The chief celebrant was Bishop of Ferns, Most Rev. Dr. Gerard Nash, who said it was his first golden jubilee of the priesthood since he became bishop of the diocese.

In his homily, the bishop recalled first meeting Fr Power a few months ago and found him to be “a man full of joy, with a smile on his face, feeling that the world is a good place”.

Noting Fr Power’s many appointments since his ordination in 1972, Bishop Nash said his gifts, talents, insights and wisdom would be of value to all as they went forward.

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A large number of diocesan priests, including 96-year-old, Very Rev. Canon Seamus de Vál, were in attendance and seated on special seats behind the altar.

Members of Fr Joe’s family, including his sister, Rev. Sr. Regina, from Convent of Mercy, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, and his brothers, Tom and William, were seated in other reserved sections facing the altar.

Before the mass, PJ Arthur, master of ceremonies and retired principal of Ballyroebuck National School, welcomed Bishop Nash, members of the diocesan clergy including Rev Trevor Sargent and Rev David Bayne, from the Church of Ireland, and members of the wider Church of Ireland community along with parishoners from Kilrush and Askamore.

Mr Arthur especially welcomed Fr Power’s sister, Anne and his brother John who followed a transmission of the mass which was preceded by a procession of 50 parishioners bearing candles enclosed in lanterns to mark Fr Joe’s 50 years in the priesthood.  The candles were then placed around the altar.  Symbols of Fr Joe’s ministry were brought to the altar, including a chalice, which Maurice Ruth said was presented to Fr Power by his family on the occasion of his ordination at St. Peter’s College on June 1, 1972.

That chalice has travelled with Fr Joe throughout his entire 50 years of ministry. 

John Joe Murphy said that Fr Joe served in London for four years after his ordination in 1972, an from 1976 to 1981, he ministered in New Ross before being appointed Bursar at St. Peter’s College, from 1981 to 1986.

From 1986 to 1996, he ministered in the Ferns Mission in Brazil, and from 1996 to 1998 he served in Gorey before being appointed as parish priest in Kilrush, in 1998.

During the ceremony, Betty Ryan and Mary Gregan made presentations to Fr Power on behalf of the parish.

A reflection on the priesthood was read by Maureen Murphy, retired school principal and a poem specially composed for the occasion was written and read by Marcella Byrne.  A further tribute, ‘A Legacy from Brazil’, was read by Amanda Murphy.

Fr Power thanked Bishop Nash and also Rev. Sargent and Rev Bayne in addition to the organisers of the anniversary mass along with parishioners, the sacristans of Kilrush and Askamore, and all were involved in making the occasion a joyful and successful occasion.

The Mass was sung by a joint choir from Askamore and Kilrush, conducted by Mary Doran and afterwards the guests and visitors, together with hundreds of parishioners enjoyed a multi-course meal in Grennan’s Big Barn, Graiguemore.