Fr Prenderivlle reflects on his time in west Wicklow village
There was a large turnout recently for a special celebration to mark Fr James Prendiville’s 25 years as the priest in Hollywood.
The event had been a closely guarded secret from Fr Prendiville himself, so he must have wondered what was going on when he saw the large crowd arriving for the 6 p.m. Mass that Saturday.
He was in for another surprise when he saw Bishop Éamonn Walsh arriving to say the Mass, who informed him that everyone was there to thank him for his dedicated service over the past 25 years and to look forward to having him for many more years to come.
After the Mass the celebration continued in the Community Centre where refreshments were served and people were able to congratulate Fr Prendiville in person and to express their own particular appreciations to him.
Since the day he arrived in Hollywood Fr Prendiville has had a big impact on the local community. He wasn’t a young man when first arriving, but if anyone expected him to be taking life easy they were in for a surprise. Not long after his arrival, he had significant repair work carried out on the roof of the church. Fr Prendiville was also a prime mover in getting the new state-of-the-art Community Centre to replace the old parish hall next to the church. His next major achievement was getting a new hall and major extension for the primary school.
Fr Prendiville has always been a strong supporter of local community groups such as the GAA, ICA and Tidy Towns committee. He was one of the founding members of the hugely successful Hollywood Fair. He has also been an effective campaigner for improvements to the village, such as the new footpath down to the main road.
Apart from his involvement with the physical and social needs of the community, Fr Prendiville’s primary role has always been as priest and pastor to his flock. He has seen to the upkeep and maintenance of the church and adjoining cemetery with devotion and care – to the extent that they are indeed the jewels in the crown of Hollywood.
Fr Prendiville started the local pilgrimage to the Mass rock in Corragh which has proved to be so popular. He has encouraged the involvement of the laity more and more in the liturgy and life of the church. Over the years he has maintained a close relationship with St Kevin’s school and its children, encouraging the boys and girls to become altar servers.
He has never hesitated to make himself available to all members of the community, in both good times and in bad, over the last 25 years. The people of Hollywood thank him for his dedication and care, and look forward to having him for many more years to come.