Fr Paddy Collins’ six decades of priesthood were celebrated on Trinity Sunday, June 11, at St Francis de Sales and All Souls parish in Devonport.

In a homily, Fr Martin Bugler noted that Fr Collins was one of 31 young men ordained as priests on this feast day 60 years ago at All Hallows in Dublin.

Fr Bugler also noted that at this time there were at least half a dozen seminaries in Ireland preparing young men for priesthood at a time characterised by youthful idealism.

“There was a wave of missionary spirit in Catholic countries at that time, very much so in Ireland,” Fr Bugler said.

“The vocation to be a priest is quite special, since most people find themselves called to marriage and family life,” the homilist added.

“We thank God for your life, Paddy; we thank God for your faith and your faithfulness. We thank God for your priestly talents and gifts, for your gentle ministry to so many. We ask God to bless you and your family as you take a holiday to Ireland. And we ask God to bless you all the days of your life,” Fr Bugler said. “And we pray that there will be many more priests called from among us to follow in your footsteps.”

After Mass, a morning tea was held at which Fr Collins cut a special cake. Pupils from St Leo’s School performed Irish dancing and sang Irish songs.

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