Parishioners from the Wallsend Family of Churches (St Aidan’s, St Bernadette’s and St Columba’s) gathered to celebrate Fr Pat O’Connell’s Diamond Jubilee on the Feast of Corpus Christi. It was truly a wonderful occasion. Fr Pat and his family, who had not seen one another since before the pandemic, were able to come together for the celebration.
It was a pleasure to welcome Bishop Seamus who preached the Homily. Other members of the diocesan clergy who attended were Deacon Paddy Jackson who was a parishioner of Fr Pat’s at St Augustine’s Leam Lane, Fr Pat Kennedy from St Gregory’s South Shields, Fr Dermot Donnelly, parish priest at St Joseph’s Stanley, and Fr Harry O’Reilly in residence at Holy Cross Sunderland.
Michelle O’Donnell, a very good friend to Fr Pat, played the organ helping to make it a beautiful Mass. The ladies at St Bernadette’s, as usual, provided beautiful floral arrangements. Fr Pat was presented with a papal blessing and a cheque from parishioners across all three Wallsend parishes.
The Lindisfarne Club in Wallsend was the venue for the celebration following the Mass. Father Pat, his family and friends enjoyed the buffet and the centerpiece was a beautiful celebration cake decorated with signs and symbolism of the sacred priesthood made by Anne Makavitage. Two parishioners added to the feast and provided edible Fr Pat cupcakes!! Those gathered were entertained by The Inchigeelagh School of Irish Dancers who practice every Sunday at St Bernadette’s parish centre. It was great to see members of Fr Pat’s family coming from different parts of the country and Ireland, and also his friends from many of the parishes where he has served