REDEMPTORIST Rector Fr Adrian Egan has stepped down after seven years at the helm of the Limerick order.
The Limerickman’s term of office saw major renovation work take place on Mount Saint Alphonsus Church and a multi-million euro redevelopment of the Redemptorist community’s monastery building, plus the development of a centre of music which is now catering to over 300 students.
Fr Egan was praised by the community as having brought “energy, creativity and enthusiasm” to the life of the church, plus a “sense of welcome he constantly extended to all”. His final mass took place on Easter Sunday, and Fr Egan will now hand over to fellow Limerick native Fr Seamus Enright, who was previously Rector seven years ago.
Fr Egan, 52, told the Limerick Leader this week that he was “delighted and relieved” to be finished his two terms in office, which began in 2008, and was “glad to hand over” to Fr Enright, whom he described as “very steady and safe”.
While the Greystones native had hoped to take a sabbatical after finishing his term, the Redemptorists need him in Cherry Orchard in Dublin, where he will likely head for short term period starting from this summer.
“I was hoping to take a bit of a sabbatical, a little break, but we have a parish up in Ballyfermot – Cherry Orchard – tough enough area, a bit like Southill or Moyross, and we have had a couple of guys there for the last few years,” he said.
“One of the guys is moving on from there, and the other guy has got ill – so they are asking me to go up and cover for the next six months. So I will probably be up there from sometime in the summer until the new appointment. That is where I will be in the short term,” he added.
Looking back over his two periods as Rector in Limerick - a three-year and then four-year term, preceded by seven years on the Falls Road in Belfast – Fr Egan said he enjoyed his time but admitted that it was “a challenging period” as head of Mount Saint Alphonsus.
“In the sense that I arrived down and there was major renovation of the church that had started, so that had to be completed and we were also planning to do renovations on the monastery,” he explained.
That development ran into trouble in the initial phase and so ran to three years instead of the planned for one, causing disruption to the elderly community living there. Fr Egan’s parents also passed away during that time, as did several members of the community.
“But we got back in, the monastery is done to a very good standard – it really is ready for another 100 years more and we kept the ministries active throughout the time we were out. The church is just beautiful, we created a sense of welcome and we bucked the trend a bit in terms of our numbers which have gone up over the years,” he said.
“We developed the centre of music too, that would be a big thing that happened while I was there. The old St Clement’s College was sitting there idle, nobody would buy it, so a few of us got the idea of offering music teaching to people that otherwise might not have access to it or be able to afford it.
“So we have nearly 300 young people learning music there now. That started in 2010 and it is still going strong - and we best local band in the band parade for the last two years. From nothing that was a great success.”
He spoke with pride about completing the renovations of the church and “seeing how beautiful it turned out” and especially about forging stronger links with St Clement’s College, and developing a worldwide audience through the use of web streaming and social media.
Fr Egan says that the Redemptorist Order might be “struggling with vocations”, with just a handful of the 14 currently living in Limerick under the age of 60, but, he declared: “We are committed to Limerick - we made a serious commitment 15 years back.
“It is part of our history and tradition and it is hard to imagine Limerick without the Redemptorists,” he added.