Currently Fr. John O’Byrne is destined in our community of Hayes.
He has recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination.
In the fifty years of my priesthood I just have an overwhelming sense of gratitude and amazement. Gratitude for what he has called me to and amazement because it’s me. Why me! Well, I have no idea ‘why me’ but I do know that it was entirely his doing so I don’t question his reasons.
I was born in Ireland in 1933, the youngest of four children. I am forever indebted to my parents and family and indeed to that entire generation amongst whom I grew up where the faith was a lived reality in everyday life and where the seeds of my vocation were first sown. In 1955 I came to Hayes with my brother Vincent but he died here in 1957. I have always felt that he was a wise and kindly guardian to me over the years. Shortly after Vincent’s death, Fr. Kieran Vaughan cmf asked me one day if I had ever thought of the priesthood. Well, I hadn’t, and in fact while I felt rather flattered that he should think so, wondered if perhaps he had mistaken me for someone else! However, a seed was sown but it was some four years later before a decision was reached.
During those four years, I was part of a group that enjoyed an active social life – such as it was in the late fifties – but was also involved in various parish activities. It was during these years that I realised that while the other members if the group were moving ahead with their lives, my life seemed to have hit a blank wall. Ideas of priesthood kept coming back to me but I was now in my late twenties and any idea of attempting these seemed more remote than ever. During that dark period of doubt and confusion it was the unfailing support and encouragement of my friends that finally enabled me to make the decision that changed my life forever. I shall forever be indebted to them and so, understandably, Hayes, where I was eventually ordained and its people have always held a special place in my heart and it’s my great privilege to share this amazing occasion with you. Let is continue to pray for and support one another.
My entire priesthood has been devoted to parish ministry apart from one three-year term as Provincial and a period as Prefect of Formation.
Looking back can be delusional for only the good Lord sees the true picture. We are merely scatterers of the seeds. Only the Lord knows where they fall and only he can give growth. Praised be the Lord and his Immaculate Mother
Fr. John cmf