BISHOP Brendan Leahy has paid tribute to Canon Donough O’Malley, who is celebrating 50 years as a priest, as a “shining example of the pastoral servant”.
The St Mary’s parish priest, 74, was ordained on June 13, 1965 and was feted with a Mass of Thanksgiving last Sunday in the Athlunkard Street church. St Mary’s was packed to the rafters for the service, with up to 500 people and 50 clergy in attendance, as well as Canon O’Malley’s cousin, former TD Des.
“Through the past fifty years, Canon O’Malley, you have been very much a good pastoral man here in the diocese, not an official. You have cared for those entrusted to you in all kinds of situations,” said Bishop Leahy during his address.
“You did a lot to try to help people of St Mary’s during the time of the flooding. I recall how you brought me on a three-hour walk of the parish to meet people and talk to them after the damage of the flood. Your energy knew no bounds,” he laughed.
The Bishop also referred to the Canon’s passion for local history and collecting books.
“You have brought this cultural dimension to the fore in your life. And that is good. And we see it here in the beautifully redecorated Church of St Mary’s that is a tribute to your stewardship here, a sign of the deep love you have for the Church not just as a building but the Church as a people that has joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments.
“As a priest you have been alongside people as a ‘man of the Church’, wanting to express the great mercy of God no matter what situation we find ourselves in,” he added.
Donough O’Malley was born on Barrington Street in 1941, the eldest child of Timothy O’Malley and Margaret Hourigan - both Murroe natives. His siblings, Ann, John, Tim, Gerard and Joseph were all in attendance at the Mass. He was named after his grandfather, Denis, as was his father’s first cousin, former minister Donogh.
He attended the Model School and Crescent College, before entering St Patrick’s Seminary, Thurles, in 1959. He served in the diocese of Southwark in London after his studies, later returning to the Diocese of Limerick where he ministered at Our Lady Queen of Peace parish, Our Lady of Lourdes parish and, since 2002, St. Mary’s.
He told the Leader this week that he had “enjoyed his time immensely”.
“What buoys one up is all the good people you meet along the way. There are a lot of negatives in life, but they are outweighed by the positives,” he said.
Eddie Butler of St Mary’s parish pastoral council, said that the people of St Mary’s parish “are blessed to have Canon O’Malley as their priest”.
“His readiness and responsive approach and his leadership qualities are well known and recognised, as are his enthusiasm, energy and work ethic.”