Archbishop Patrick Kelly celebrated Mass in the Metropolitan cathedral of Christ the King at the close of the Year of the Priest with priests who have significant jubilees in 2010.
The annual celebration was given added significance this year as it marks the end of the International Year for Priests called by Pope Benedict XVI. The year which began on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, 19 June 2009 closes today the corresponding Feast in 2010.
In his letter issued at the start of the year of celebration Pope Benedict XVI said: ‘I think of all those priests who quietly present Christ’s words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world, striving to be one with the Lord in their thoughts and their will, their sentiments and their style of life. How can I not pay tribute to their apostolic labours, their tireless and hidden service, their universal charity?'
This year eighteen priests from the Archdiocese of Liverpool will mark the jubilee of their ordination and will give thanks for a total of 675 years of service. There are nine priests celebrating their silver jubilee (25 years); two celebrating their ruby jubilee (40 years); five celebrating their golden jubilee (50 years); and two celebrating their diamond jubilee (60 years).
Of the Liverpool Jubilarians six are now retired, seven of them are in active parish ministry in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, two are in Chaplaincy work, two work in adult Christian education and one serves with LAMP (the Liverpool Archdiocesan Missionary Project) in Bolivia.
Friends and family will joined the priests for the Mass and individual celebrations will be held throughout the rest of the year.
Those celebrating jubilees in 2010 are:
Diamond Jubilee of Priesthood 1950-2010:
Fr Philip Barrett (Retired) 4 June 1950
Fr Donald Gordon (Retired) 3 June 1950
Golden Jubilee of Priesthood 1960-2010:
Fr John Birchall (Retired) 11 June 1960
Fr Bernard Eager (Retired) 11 June 1960
Fr James Matthews (Chaplain: Ince Blundell Hall) 11 June 1960
Fr John Thompson (Parish Priest: St Francis de Sales, Liverpool) 12 June 1960
Fr Joseph Weston (Parish Priest: St Benedict, Hindley) 12 June 1960
Ruby Jubilee of Priesthood 1970-2010:
Fr Michael Lee (Parish Priest: St Columba, Huyton) 30 March 1970
Fr Matthew O’Callaghan (Retired) 23 May 1970
Silver Jubilee of Priesthood 1985-2010:
Fr Joseph Bibby (LAMP) 28 September 1985
Fr Graeme Dunne (Parish Priest: St Anthony, Liverpool) 9 November 1985
Fr Anthony Garrett (Retired) 23 June 1985
Fr Peter Hannah (Parish Priest: St Vincent, St Helens) 20 July 1985
Fr Peter McGrail (Liverpool Hope University) 21 July 1985
Fr Ian O’Shea (Metropolitan Cathedral) 7 July 1985
Fr John Seddon (Chaplain to the Scout Movement) 6 July 1985
Fr Tony Slingo (Parish Priest: St Teresa, Upholland) 5 October 1985
Fr Christopher Thomas (Irenaeus Project) 14 July 1985
Ad multos annos