NOT many have a flash mob, choirs and specially written song at their retirement party but the parish of Murroe-Boher organised that, and more, for Fr Tom Ryan.
Fr Ryan is handing over the reins to Fr Loughlin Brennan while remaining on as associate pastor. Pat Walsh, MC, said retirement was the wrong word and Fr Ryan is “just stepping aside”.
“It is only right that the parish should acknowledge all the good work and dedicated service of Fr Tom,” said Mr Walsh.
Chairman of Murroe Community Council, Fr Simon Sleeman said he was thanking Fr Ryan on behalf of the parish for his unstinting service over 18 years as parish priest.
“You are extraordinarily kind and generous with your time and energy. Many here have experienced that first hand. Your legacy is strong and deeply embedded. We are eternally grateful for what you have done and wish you every health and happiness in the future,” said Fr Simon. Pat O’Connell, chairman of Boher Development Association, echoed this and gave one example.
“I was in a house in a neighbouring parish and a priest was required. The parish priest wasn’t available and someone said, ‘What about Fr Ryan?’. Somebody else said, ‘Sure he is not from this parish’.
“They rang Fr Ryan and within 10 minutes he got directions and came to the house. Within five minutes he was sitting down with a glass of ‘red lemonade’ and was part of the family. That’s Fr Ryan, he is there to help in a moment’s notice no matter what it is,” said Mr O’Connell.
Leas Cathaoirleach John Egan said Fr Ryan put his heart and soul into every project that took place in Murroe-Boher. He listed out the re-roofing of the hall, repair of the church in Boher, parish house, amongst many others.
”He is excellent at getting jobs done but his greatest quality is as a priest. Fr Ryan’s finest quality is when there is a bereavement, he is more than caring and sympathetic and supportive,” said Cllr Egan.
A song written by the Abbot of Glenstal, Fr Mark Patrick Hederman for Fr Ryan had the crowd in full voice. Paddy Hourigan presented a wooden bowl made by Br Ciarán, pupils from Killinure and Murroe National Schools also made a presentation. The parish’s gift was a golfing trip for four. Fr Ryan said he had been dreading the occasion but wanted to take the opportunity to thank people in the parish for their “kindness, understanding, patience and above all your support”.
He said he will still go on helping his new parish priest - Fr Loughlin Brennan, who was also wished the best - and joked they “had no rows - yet!”
“It has been a privilege over the past 18 years to have prayed with you, worked with you, been with you in the good and sad times,” said Fr Ryan.