Bishop Barry, Bishop Basil, Reverend Fathers, Reverend Sisters and Brothers of religious communities, members of the O”Connor family, friends and parishioners’ of Our Lady of Victories. It is my pleasure to welcome you here this evening as we begin the formal part of this celebration and thanking God for 25 years of Priestly ministry of Fr. John O”Connor. It Is indeed appropriate that we have begun this celebration with Holy Mass.
In a few moments we are to hear from some significant people in Fr. John’s life. But before I introduce our first speaker I want to share my thoughts on my Parish Priest and friend. If there is one aspect of Fr. John that stands out, it is his love for the God that he serves. And nowhere is this better exemplified than in his love for the Liturgy of the Mass that we have just experienced. We have at Our Lady of Victories been reintroduced to the beauty and treasurey of our Roman liturgy with the introduction of the new translation by the gentle guidance of Fr. John. All so that we can better worship the God who loves us all.
I am not sure if you are aware, but Fr. John’s favourite beverage is milk. He shared with parishioners last Sunday that in joining brother priests in Queenstown to commemorate his 25years of priesthood, some milk would be drunk. What you may not k now is that I have it on good authority that this milk comes all the way from the highlands of Scotland!
One of Fr. John’s frequent sayings is “God never misses a chance”. God never missed a chance on the blessings he has bestowed on Fr. John. We thank God for that.
Our first speaker is a priest of the ChCh diocese currently teaching at the national Seminary in Auckland. When this Priest came to assist during the seminary recess last Christmas, Fr. John broke one of his cardinal rules. “Carey, when you get a supply priest, always make sure they are not quite as good as you. Then parishioners welcome you back next week.” He failed miserably in introducing us to Fr. Steve Lowe.
Fr. Steve Lowe’s reflection
It is now my pleasure to introduce Kathryn, a sister of Fr. John who is representing the family at tonight’s celebration.
Before we have our last speaker, we will pause for a moment to allow you all to charge your glasses for a toast at the end of the address.
I would now like to welcome Mike Doolan, a parishioner and friend of Fr. John to speak on behalf of the parish. Mike will share with us the travel he has undertaken to be with us this evening. Thank you Mike.
Thank you Mike. It is now my pleasure to ask Fr. John to address us.