Farewell, Fr Paddy

AS EVERYONE knows, we are losing our much loved curate, Fr. Paddy Byrne, who leaves at the beginning of August to take up duty in Portlaoise. Although we knew this was a possibility, we hoped it wouldn’t happen, at least not for another few years, and that he would be left to continue his wonderful ministry in our parish. But this was not to be and the community is very sad to hear of his imminent departure; he will be sadly missed by everyone for so many reasons - his deep faith and love of the Lord; his warm smile and sense of humour; his generosity with his time and readiness to offer a listening ear; his concern for the less fortunate; his care and love for the sick and elderly and his total dedication to his parishioners - he immersed himself in church and community life. Father Paddy serves the Church in a very positive and pastorally enriching manner, giving a fine example of a happy and fulfilled priest who lives his faith and loves to sing, having been blessed by the Lord with a beautiful singing voice. He could easily have given the late Frank Sinatra a run for his money! Fr. Paddy was deeply involved with the sick and the terminally ill, always available any hour of the day or night, visiting them in hospital and in their homes. His work with young people in the schools and the community was a source of great pleasure for him. Since he came to Bagenalstown he has been a wonderful role model for our young people, encouraging them and praying for them. As one young person said to me “Fr. Paddy is a wonderful priest and he is “so cool!” With a following of several thousand followers on Twitter he must be “cool”. He is much in demand by the media, both local and national, as he is an articulate communicator, not afraid to speak out for what he believes in. He writes a weekly column in the Nationalist and has a blog on the Parish website bagenalstownparish.ie. Being a priest in Ireland during the last few years could not have been easy. On a personal level, our pilgrimage to the Holy Land last November, led by Fr. Paddy, was a memorable experience as he brought the life and times of Jesus alive for the 70 people who made the trip. During his time in our parish his ministry included his involvement with the schools, he was a member of the Board of Management and Chaplain to Queen of the Universe N.S., Chairperson and Chaplain of Nurney N.S. and Ballinkillen N.S. and Chaplain to Presentation De La Salle College. His other involvements included the Liturgy Group, the Annual Novena and the Dawn Mass on Mount Leinster every Easter Sunday morning. Fr. Paddy loved his time in Bagenalstown and told me“to work in a town where people are so friendly and helpful was a privilege and it is a great place to live. “Fr. Paddy came to us from Newbridge having spent seven years there and we were blessed to have him for six more. He deeply touched and enriched the lives of everyone with whom he came in contact. Now we must let him go to continue his Church ministry in Portlaoise and send with him our best wishes for a happy and fulfilled time there and assure him of our prayers and a permanent place in our affections.

AS EVERYONE knows, we are losing our much loved curate, Fr. Paddy Byrne, who leaves at the beginning of August to take up duty in Portlaoise. Although we knew this was a possibility, we hoped it wouldn’t happen, at least not for another few years, and that he would be left to continue his wonderful ministry in our parish. But this was not to be and the community is very sad to hear of his imminent departure; he will be sadly missed by everyone for so many reasons - his deep faith and love of the Lord; his warm smile and sense of humour; his generosity with his time and readiness to offer a listening ear; his concern for the less fortunate; his care and love for the sick and elderly and his total dedication to his parishioners - he immersed himself in church and community life. Father Paddy serves the Church in a very positive and pastorally enriching manner, giving a fine example of a happy and fulfilled priest who lives his faith and loves to sing, having been blessed by the Lord with a beautiful singing voice. He could easily have given the late Frank Sinatra a run for his money! Fr. Paddy was deeply involved with the sick and the terminally ill, always available any hour of the day or night, visiting them in hospital and in their homes. His work with young people in the schools and the community was a source of great pleasure for him. Since he came to Bagenalstown he has been a wonderful role model for our young people, encouraging them and praying for them. As one young person said to me “Fr. Paddy is a wonderful priest and he is “so cool!” With a following of several thousand followers on Twitter he must be “cool”. He is much in demand by the media, both local and national, as he is an articulate communicator, not afraid to speak out for what he believes in. He writes a weekly column in the Nationalist and has a blog on the Parish website bagenalstownparish.ie. Being a priest in Ireland during the last few years could not have been easy. On a personal level, our pilgrimage to the Holy Land last November, led by Fr. Paddy, was a memorable experience as he brought the life and times of Jesus alive for the 70 people who made the trip. During his time in our parish his ministry included his involvement with the schools, he was a member of the Board of Management and Chaplain to Queen of the Universe N.S., Chairperson and Chaplain of Nurney N.S. and Ballinkillen N.S. and Chaplain to Presentation De La Salle College. His other involvements included the Liturgy Group, the Annual Novena and the Dawn Mass on Mount Leinster every Easter Sunday morning. Fr. Paddy loved his time in Bagenalstown and told me“to work in a town where people are so friendly and helpful was a privilege and it is a great place to live. “Fr. Paddy came to us from Newbridge having spent seven years there and we were blessed to have him for six more. He deeply touched and enriched the lives of everyone with whom he came in contact. Now we must let him go to continue his Church ministry in Portlaoise and send with him our best wishes for a happy and fulfilled time there and assure him of our prayers and a permanent place in our affections.

MASS OF THANKSGIVING AND FAREWELL - A Mass of thanksgiving and farewell will take place on Saturday, August 4 at 6pm in St. Andrew’s Parish Church, Bagenalstown, to celebrate the six happy and fulfilling years Father Paddy enjoyed in Bagenalstown. All are most welcome.

POTTERY WORKSHOP - Ever wanted to try your hand at pottery? This workshop is a relaxed introduction to creating with clay, hand building and throwing on the wheel. Saturday, August 4, 10am-1pm. Fee: €30
DRAMA WORKSHOPS - In these fun-filled workshops children will engage in a variety of drama based activities under the guidance of an experienced drama teacher. They will work collaboratively, imaginatively and creatively in ways that boost self-expression, self-esteem and most of all, enjoyment! No previous experience is required, just the desire to participate. Fee €50. August 6 and 7 6-8 year olds: August 9 and 10 9-12 year olds Contact 086 3608728 or email crackedpotstudio@gmail.com. Website: www.thecrackedpotstudio.com.

MUINE BHEAG CAMOGIE CLUB - The club would like to thank everybody who supported their recent fundraising street collection- to all the parents who helped to collect and to their Treasurer, Monica Hayden for all her hard work.

A MESSAGE FROM - Bagenalstown Improvement Group Tidy towns. The River Festival and the wind presented some challenges last weekend, but Eye Spy was pretty impressed early Monday morning, litter not too bad at all! Will make another trip on Tuesday to see how things are. Spotted Ann Hughes and two little helpers picking up litter in Main Street, brownie points there! At the Fire Station the hanging baskets are making a lovely display – and across the road at the Estoria we saw John Kennedy out sweeping the whole area. Baskets are adding a nice bit of colour here too. John Whelan on Regent Street has gorgeous window boxes, and that street always looks good. Barret Street is another lovely area – Eye Spy wondering if any of the residents might do a spot of weeding at the school gates?? Took a trip down Gleann na Bearu and Ashfield recently – really the estates of Bagenalstown are to be commended. This is a young estate with a lot of young children and it was spotless – pats on the back all round. Some nice touches here and there at the green areas, with flower beds and trees, and great pride obvious in the gardens. Keep up the good work. Tips for this week: Look after the place where you live – whether you own it or not. Grass won’t cut itself and weeds will not commit hari kari and jump out of the flower tubs on their own. A little care goes a long way. Dog fouling – pick up your pooper scooper, sacks for free at the McGrath Hall. Don’t chuck your rubbish on our streets or in our river waiting for someone else to clear it up. Empty drink bottles are litter too by the way.

INFORMATION DAY - Carlow Volunteer Centre will hold an Information Day in Bagenalstown on Friday, August 10 at the Credit Union from 10am – 12.45pm. and in Supervalu from 1.30pm-3.30pm. Information is available on many different volunteering opportunities around the south of the county. It’s a chance to find out how to share your skills, interests and hobbies - without having to give any commitment. Contact: natasha@volunteercarlow.ie or phone 059 91 73033 or website www.volunteercarlow.ie

10K FUN RUN/WALK - Sunday, August 12 at 12 noon in aid of Bagenalstown Family Resource Centre. The run starts at the McGrath Hall, down by the lovely River Barrow and then takes a turn for the scenic country route around by Dunleckney. Cash prizes for the first two male and female runners over the finish line! Fun Run medal for all participants on the day! Entry fees: €20 fur runners and €10 for walkers. Family discounts available. You can register in a number of different ways - online: by http://www.runireland.com/events/bagenalstown-family-resource-centre-10k-fun-run or on their facebook page www.facebook.com/bagenalstown.frc. If you prefer, call into the Centre and register! For more information contact Tara by calling 059-9722028 or email: bagenalstownfunrun@hotmail.com.

BAGENALSTOWN FESTIVAL - Despite the current economic climate good crowds turned out last week-end for the River Festival in Bagenalstown. Activities kicked off with the Fishing Competition, organized by the Lyons family, and approx. 43 people signed up to take part. There was a good catch of fish and everyone who participated got a medal. The winner of the Mick Lyons Memorial Trophy was Danny Phelan. Raft racing was back this year and proved a very popular event. Winners in the men’s section were the Red Lyons team and the women’s race was won by Brennan’s Agri Trailers. Another new event was “I’m a Civilian, Get me Out of Here”, based on the reality tv. series. The competitors had to live in the old Credit Union building for the week-end and take part in certain trials. Six men and two ladies took part and the winner was Mick Nevin. A King and Queen Competition was held in the Estoria and provided another great night of fun. Compere was Jamsie Salter and the judges were Imelda Byrne, Faith Amond, Edwina Grace and Willie Lee. The winners were Michael Egan and Denise Kavanagh. On Saturday three local pubs took part in the Pub Wheelbarrow Race and the winner was the Red Lion. Another novelty event was the Comedy Hypnotist and a car book sale in Jordan’s Field. Sunday continued with barge trips, puppet show for children and live music with the ever popular Mad Caps mime group and Blackstair Rebels. Prize winners were Jack Keegan, Ruaire O’Sullivan, Josh and Sam Hughes, Emily Murphy, Colette Lakes, Ann Darcy, Mandy Rothwell, Charlie McSteen, Nina Doyle and Pat Dwyer. Due to the condition of the river there was only one swimming event and the winners were Women’s Race Katie O’Neill and Men’s Race Leon Gordon.