New Rector: Reverend James Mulhall and family in Kells church last Friday
The Reverend James Mulhall is no ordinary Rector. The man who has been appointed priest-in-charge of the Church of Ireland Kells Union with Inistioge was once a Catholic priest before joining the Church of Ireland and has a great reputation as a counsellor.
He was introduced to his new parish on Friday last, October 13 , at a special service of introduction in St. Mary’s parish church, Kells.Clergy and members of the parish and wider community gathered to welcome him and his wife, Suzanne, and their two children, to the area.
He will be serving as priest-in-charge there.
He will continue his role as Children’s Ministry Officer in the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory with special responsibility for Safeguarding Trust (the Church of Ireland’s child protection policy) and resourcing children’s ministry.
James succeeds the Reverend Martin Hilliard who retired last Easter and comes to the parish with substantial life experience having been a Roman Catholic priest for 12 years.
He was later a HSE social worker prior to his licensing for ministry in the Church of Ireland in 2009.
He and his family have just completed seven years in Lismore Union of Parishes where he was curate assistant.
Speaking at this special service of welcome, James’s former rector, the Very Reverend Paul Draper, Dean of Lismore, who preached at the service, told the congregation that they were getting somebody very special.
“You’re really getting one of our prized possessions so look after him well,” he said. “Although when James is talking to you, whether it is in a sitting-room or in a dairy, he appears easy going, you quickly realise that he is communicating something of great depth to you.
He loves to tell stories and use props. In essence, not only does James teach about Jesus but sometimes he also teaches like Jesus.”
Siobhan Tulloch welcomed him on behalf of the parish saying it was encouraging to have a person so dedicated to rural ministry living among them.
Fr Dan Bollard, parish priest of the Thomastown Catholic parish said he looked forward to sharing the Christian mission with James and welcomed him and his family to the parish, as did Minister of State for Housing, John Paul Phelan.
Minister Phelan also drew attention to James’s reputation as a conciliator and healer, expressing the opinion that there has never been more of a need for healing in the world than at present.
The Chairperson of Kilkenny County Council, David Fitzgerald as well as Father Dan Carroll, Parish Priest of Danefort also attended.
In response, the Reverend Mulhall said that he was excited about coming to Kells and he thanked everyone for their warm welcome.
“Over the coming months and years I look forward to us all getting to know one another better and sharing the joys and beauty of being human,” he said.
He finished up by inviting the gathering to come back ‘for further instalments’ in the months and years to come.
Refreshments were provided by parishioners afterwards in Stoneyford Community Centre to complete this enjoyable and sociable event.