Diocese of Ferns - Vocations


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Country Clergy


Fr. Aidan Kavanagh who wrote this article passed to his eternal reward on 22nd June 2011. We leave his thoughts here on this site as a tribute to his memory. A link to the homily preached by Bishop Brennan at Fr. Aidan's funeral is included on the left.

Fr Aidan Kavanagh, a native of Kiltilly, Kilrush was ordained in 1957 and has served in Terrerath, Coolfancy, Carnew, Bride Street, Rowe St and has been Parish Priest of Bree since 1981. Fr Aidan writes:

I was asked if I would put down on paper my thoughts and reflections on my priesthood and what my priesthood has meant to me.

On reflecting on my priesthood, I must go back in time to my childhood years growing up in my family home, the people and events that had a huge influence on my life, my parents, my three brothers and my five sisters, my extended family and the parish environment in which I grew up. It is in the family circle and parish environment that vocations are fostered and nourished . My parents were hard working country folk. They were blessed with a strong faith and were most faithful to the practice of their faith. They instilled in all of us the same love of faith and practice of it. Our home was a home where the family Rosary and family prayer was very much part of our lives. During the month of May we prayed around the May Altar decorated with flowers and lighted candles. On Sunday afternoons we attended Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Hour each month. We were sent once a month to Connfession and Holy Communion, that always meant first Mass on those Sundays, Holy Communion was never given at second Mass because of the long fast from the prevoius midnight.

I was very young when my two eldest sisters became nuns. I was two years old when my oldest sister joined the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of thre Immaculate Conception in Bloomfield, Mullingar. I was four when my second sister joined the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Bride St. Wexford. During my primary school years there were two men from the parish studying for the priesthood. They were constant visitors to our home and I got to know them very well. They responded to God's call to dedicate them selves to the service of God and their fellowmen by spreading the faith and working for the kingdom of God. I always admired them for making their choice to work for God. They had a great influence on me and I have no doubt that when it was my turn to make my choice in life it was their example and their generous response to God's call that prompted me to become a priest.

I entered the Seminary in St. Peter's College in 1951 six years later I was ordianed a priest on the 28 April 1957. I was appointed curate of Terrerath in Cushinstown Parish taking up duty just two weeks later on 11 May, I suppose you could say that I was thrown at the deep end. When I opened the front door of my new residence I had to jump over a pool of water in the porch, when I went into the kitchen there was a pool of water there also, not a very encouraging sight. There was no running water in the house, but there was plenty of water in a dwaw-well outside the back door.

I settled in to do the Lord's work. I will always remember the welcome, the good will of the people, they gave me every encouragement, and they were always ready to row in behind me. After a year the building of a new house was broached, plans were drawn up and work commenced, the house was built for three thousand pounds, a lot of money in those days and it involved a lot of fund raising before it was paid for. I was very happy and fulfilled in my ministry and people were very appreciative of what I was doing for them. It was team work all the way and I felt that I was contributing to the wellfare of the people both spiritually and socially. In 1964 we renovated the Church which entailed re-roofing, plastering inside and inside, building a new sacristy and new sanctuary to comply with the new regulations of the Vatican Council, all the work was done at a cost of 18,000.00.

I spent fourteen years in Terrerath and I felt very sad leaving it, the first appointment of any priest is always the one most remembered. The people of Terrerath always claimed that they made a man of me.After Terrerath I spent four years in Coolfancy and two years in Carnew, two country areas. I have alway found that if a priest is seen to be faithful to his duties, if he respects people and accepts them for who they are and where they are at, people will be most supportive of their priest. I must confess that I was very happy in this northren part of the diocese.

My next appointment was to Wexford town. I must say that I felt very sorry turning the key in the door to leave Carnew and heading down for Wexford town. Carnew was the biggest place I had ministered in until now. I entered the Presbytery in Wexford in fear and trepidation. I wondred would I be able to cope in the big town situation. I needn'thave worried because I was working with five other priests. We got on very well together and we worked as a team. The work was much different from country parishes. There were boys and girls secondary schools. There was a hospital which each priest had to attend when the chaplain was off duty. There were meals on wheels which we helped out with, there was a senior citizen's club which I was chaplain to and there were many other organisations and clubs that demand attention. Over all I found the Wexford experience to be most beneficial and fulfilling and I never regretted going there.

Now I am here in Bree for almost thirty years, thirty years in June 2011. After fifty three years in the priesthood I must say that I am as enthusiastic as when I was appointed to Terrerath all those years ago. I am in a most progressive parish. There has always been people of foresight and vision in Bree, people who were prepared to get up and do things for them selves. I can say with all honesty that I have enjoyed every moment of my ministry in Bree, they carried me along with them and made my ministry most rewarding and fulfilling.

I thank all those wonderful people who helped along the way, many of them are gone to their eternal reward and I look forward to joining them one day in our heavenly home.

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Last Update Feb 08 2016

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