Parishioners turn out
to honour popular PP
Retirement function for Fr McGinnity
Published 04/06/2016 |
Knockbridge people turned out in great numbers on Friday night at a function to mark the retirement of parish priest, Fr Gerard McGinnity. Following Mass, a crowd in excess of 300 parishioners adjourned to the community centre for the celebration.
Indeed, so big was the response to invitations to the event, that a bigger marquee had to be booked to accommodate the overflow.
A committee comprising members of various local voluntary organisations and individuals was put together to organise the function, with precise instructions from Fr McGinnity that it was to be held in the parish centre, with no charge, and everyone invited. As a consequence, a letter was put through every door in the parish, and the response was impressive, as parishioners supported the priest, who went through trying times before coming to Knockbridge.Originally from Derrynoose in Co Armagh, Fr McGinnity was ordained for the Archdiocese of Armagh in 1972.
At the age of 32, he was appointed senior dean of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth in 1978.
He was the whistleblower of the sex abuse scandal at the national seminary in 1984. His complaints were dismissed, and he was removed from the position.The Irish bishops published the McCullough report in June, 2005, which found no complaints by any seminarian about sexual harassment.However, Fr McGinnity’s concerns were fully validated by the report of the Ferns Inquiry, commissioned by the Irish government, and published in October, 2005.When the matter came to national prominence, he spoke of being ‘demoted and humiliated’.
On Friday, sixteen priests were on the altar for a special Mass in St Mary’s church at 7pm. At the meal which followed in the community centre, a number of presentations were made to Fr McGinnity, who said his first Mass as parish priest in Knockbridge on 22 August, 1999.Many people came to the organising committee with contributions to a cheque which was presented, while he also received a framed photo of the cherry trees in full bloom at the church.Local historian Pat O’Neill presented Fr McGinnity with two of his books, A History Of Knockbridge and Knockbridge Miscellany.
Chairman of the Pioneers, Colm Smith, gave the priest a gold pin; and he received from Kilcroney residents a selection of pictures of the old national school, where Mass is celebrated every Christmas morning and Easter Sunday.
Filed under: House of Prayer |