Tributes paid to priest as he leaves Limerick parish

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Fr Pat Coffey, who said his final mass in Doon last weekend begins his new ministry in Thurles this weekend.

Fr Pat Coffey, who said his final mass in Doon last weekend begins his new ministry in Thurles this weekend.

Meanwhile, Fr Danny O’Gorman, who moves from Herbertstown, will commence parish life in Doon.

After last Sunday’s Mass Fr Coffey was surprised by boys and girls from the two national schools in Doon who gave him good luck cards. Doon Pastoral Council presented him with a memento.

Fr Coffey said he was heartened by the good wishes and messages of farewell from people in the community.

“I enjoyed calling Doon my home for the past seven years and I enjoyed ministering as a priest from here in various roles throughout the archdiocese. It is difficult moving from here but one word from last Sunday’s gospel helps me - Ephphatha.

“It means ‘be open’. It was the word Jesus said when he healed a person who had been deaf and had also an impediment in his speech. I hope to be ‘open’ to what this appointment asks of me. I have been reaffirmed in my priesthood by the support and encouragement I am getting from the people of this community. I appreciate their kindness deeply,” said Fr Coffey, who wished to pay particular tribute to Fr Tony Ryan and wish Fr O’Gorman the best as he takes up his appointment.

In one of many of his roles Fr Coffey was vocations director for the archdiocese.

“I would also encourage anyone thinking about becoming a priest or a religious to have the courage to respond. It is at a time like this of moving parish that we can as priests and people value how we can minister to each other,” said Fr Coffey.

His other roles were diocesan advisor to primary schools; director of Accord; he was in charge of the diocesan youth pilgrimage to Lourdes; conducted retreats for young people and assisted in Cappawhite for two years.

As vocations director, he visited every parish in the diocese and introduced the Chalice programme. It invites young people to respond to God’s invitation to priesthood and religious life.

As diocesan advisor to primary schools, Fr Coffey visited schools, met with principals and teachers and promoted together the new religion programme. He then visited the classrooms to encourage the children in their studies and understanding of the faith.

“In addition to that incredible schedule Fr Pat was involved in our parish and a very active member of Doon Pastoral Council and a regular celebrant at our weekend Masses,” said Fr Ryan, who also welcomes Fr O’Gorman to Doon.

“Fr Coffey is described by all who know him as a very sincere, approachable person, generous to a fault with his time and talents, a great motivator and listener, and a wonderful exemplary priest.

“We thank him most sincerely for his outstanding contribution and wish him well in his new ministry in Bohernanave, Thurles,” said Fr Ryan.

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