We finally got to say farewell and thanks to Fr John who left us in July to take up his new appointment as administrator of Farranree parish. Fr John ministered as our parish priest from June 2008 to July 2013 and the parishioners of Frankfield/Grange came out in their numbers to express their appreciation and thanks for his pastoral ministry over the previous five years.

Fr John celebrated the 6.30pm Vigil Mass on Saturday November 9th and expressed his thanks for being invited back for a final farewell.  He said he enjoyed his ministry in Frankfield/Grange and hoped that we, in our own way, had benefited from his pastoral care and spiritual guidance during his time among us.

His parents, Jim and Teresa Walsh, attended the Mass and brought up the offertory gifts. The church choir sang some of Fr John’s favourite hymns and Gene Sheehan sang Only in God after Holy Communion, a John Michael Talbot hymn, which is a particular favourite of Fr John’s, Jean Downey accompanied him on the organ.

At the end of Mass Billy Horgan, a member of our finance committee, presented Fr John with a gift of a canvas photo of the church’s stained glass window that depicts the Annunciation and the Nativity (our church – The Incarnation – is named after the Nativity) and a bank draft for a few bob!  On being told initially in 2008 that we were getting a new parish priest (Fr John) Billy said he was a little apprehensive, but on hearing that, like himself, Fr John was a Manu supporter they became good friends. He said Fr John gave himself wholeheartedly to his ministry and we will remember with fondness his pastoral ministry with us – our loss is Farranree’s gain. Fr John thanked all involved in planning and organising the Eucharistic celebration and the refreshments and indeed he was grateful to all who turned up to wish him well in his new appointment.

Fr John said goodbye to the parishioners as they exited the church, while a big number of the congregation headed to the parish centre to partake of some refreshments.

The Evening Echo sent one of their photographers, Howard Crowdy, to photograph Fr John receiving his farewell gift. Fr John then proceeded to the parish centre where he was heartily greeted by the parishioners.  He said a few words while cutting his cake which was decorated with a photo of himself; mind you he was careful not to cut his face off!  Fr John then took the opportunity to chat with us over a cuppa.  Show time followed when members of the choir and other members of the congregation entertained us with group and individual singing.

Fr Christy spoke a few words and said the large number of parishioners who attended the Mass and the parish centre was testament to how much Fr John endeared himself to the parishioners and how grateful we were to have had him journey with us over the previous five years.

As it was also Fr Colin’s birthday on the night we all sang happy birthday to him and wished him well for the next twelve months.