For Fr Martin Bugler, despite celebrating his 60 year jubilee as a priest, the call to priesthood is still a mystery. “Priests come from all backgrounds and starting points,” he said in a homily at his Jubilee Mass, “and for most of us, it is still a mystery. Why me? How me? Am I a real priest?”

“It is a special vocation, a call to special service of God’s people. It comes from love of Jesus. It comes from love of the Church,” Fr Bugler added.

Friends and parishioners from a number of parishes in which Fr Bugler served came together on June 15 at St Joseph’s church in Takapuna to celebrate with him. Mass was followed by a veritable feast at the church’s hall.

St Joseph parish priest Msgr David Tonks jokingly warned guests that they couldn’t keep the sprightly 91-year-old priest up until midnight.

Hamilton Emeritus Bishop Denis Browne concelebrated the Mass along with priests from Auckland diocese’s northern deanery.

Fr Bugler thanked the priests for joining him in his celebration. He also thanked and congratulated Msgr Tonks, who was also celebrating the 43rd anniversary of his ordination as a priest.

Fr Bugler also thanked and blessed all he had the privilege of serving.

“To my beloved community, I say thanks, a thousand thanks. And don’t worry. All will be well. It is not the end. It is a beginning,” he said.

Fr Bugler was born on May 10, 1927 in Seariff, County Clare, Ireland.

He received his priestly training at the Redemptorist House of Studies at Cluain Mhuire, Galway and St Patrick’s College seminary in Thurles. He was ordained in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Thurles on June 15, 1958, and  was incardinated into Auckland diocese
and began ministry on December 18 of the same year.

He started out as an assistant parish priest in St Mary’s, Hamilton (1959 –1964). From there he was moved to Holy Cross in Henderson as assistant parish priest up to December, 1969, and also served briefly at St Mary’s parish in Gisborne. He was later made parish priest of St Mary’s, Makaraka, in 1970.

Other parishes in which he served included Cambridge, Dargaville, Owairaka, Papatoetoe, Waiuku, Te Atatu, Pukekohe, Helensville and Milford.

Fr Bugler is moving to St John Vianney House in Ponsonby.