50 YEARS: At the Golden Jubilee celebration Mass for Fr Tom Looney at the Prince of Peace Church Fossa were from left: Fr Donal Looney, Fr Liam McCarthy OFM, Bishop Ray Browne, Fr Tom Looney and Deacon Thady O’Connor. Picture: Eamonn Keogh
By Michelle Crean
For 50 years he has dedicated his life to the church and its people – and on Saturday night it was the turn of the parish to celebrate Fr Tom Looney’s commitment.
A ceremony to mark his Golden Jubilee took place in Christ, Prince of Peace Church, Fossa, followed by a night of celebration in the local community centre.
The Eucharist ceremony was organised by Fr Tom, while the Parish Pastoral Council along with help from other church groups co-ordinated the rest of the event. The Mass was concelebrated by Fr Tom, his brother Fr Donal, Bishop Ray Browne, eight priests, one deacon and a team of altar servers and was enriched by the choir, vocalists and organists.
“A special thanks to Catherine McCarthy for providing and preparing the food, Fossa School Parent’s Council helped to serve the food on the night and also decorated the hall for the occasion which was adorned with art work produced by each class from the local school,”Paudy O’Sullivan, a member of the Parish Pastoral Council, told the Killarney Advertiser.
Fr Tom’s family presented the gifts which included his love of history and sport, Paudy added.
“Fr Tom referred to his 50 years in ministry since 1969 and he produced the first hat he wore when he started his Seminary training in Maynooth in 1962 to the applause of the packed congregation in the church. This hat had been purchased in Cleary’s and gifted to him by family. He catalogued his life from his ordination in St Brendan’s College in 1969 by Bishop Moynihan through his parish ministry from Kerry to London and Peru and then back to Kerry, and finally to Fossa in 2015.”
The Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council, Billy Mangan welcomed Fr Tom’s family to the celebration in the community centre and commended him on his 50 years dedication to the priesthood. He was then presented with a gift of a landscape painting by Olivia Ní Carra from the people of Fossa Parish and afterwards Fr Tom cut a beautifully decorated Golden Jubilee cake, baked by Margaret Myers.
The Kelleher family provided the music and Fr Tom gave a beautiful rendition of ‘Óró, Sé do Bheatha Bhaile’, which was enjoyed by all. The entertainment continued with music and dancing to the “Sliabh Luachra” set.
“A special word of thanks to the voluntary organisations in the parish who financially supported the purchase of a gift for Fr Tom. The community wish Fr Tom a full recovery and continued success with his upcoming treatment. Comhghairdeas le Fr Tom. Go bhfága Dia do shláinte dhuit.”