On what seems like a very long time ago, February 29th 2020, our parish family gathered to celebrate the ministry of Fr. Paul Byrne, our Parish Priest for 9 years. Our church was packed as Fr. Paul celebrated Mass. In addition to the many parishioners, Fr. Paul’s family, his brother priests from the Derriaghy Colin Parish Pastoral Community and the Clergy from neighbouring churches, Harmony Hill Presbyterian, and St. Columba’s Derryvolgie, were in attendance. After the homily, Fr. Paul spoke from the heart about his time in Derriaghy Parish. His reflection was personal and moving and delivered in his characteristically down-to-earth way. The beautiful music for the liturgy was provided by the pupils of St. Colman’s School.
After Mass the parish community crossed to the school where a buffet was served. Photographs of Fr. Paul’s time in the parish were projected against the wall and speeches were delivered by: Ita Caldwell, Chair of the Pastoral Community; Fr. Brian McCann, Administrator of Derriaghy Parish; Arthur Scott, Co-ordinator of the Do This in Memory Programme; Mr. Baines, School Principal and Fr. Paul himself.
Anita Brennan, of the Parish Finance Committee presented Fr. Paul with several gifts from the parish, including a framed wood-carving of oak leaves, the symbol of our parish of Derriaghy, with the inscription:
In gratitude for your ministry Fr. Paul; from the parishioners of Derriaghy
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither- whatever he does prospers.
Fr. Paul will be remembered with great affection by the people of Derriaghy Parish and we wish him a complete recovery to full health and every blessing in his priestly ministry in the future.