The people of Prosperous waved farewell to their popular local priest, Fr. Pat O’Brien last week, with a mass, sing songs, and tree planting.
The Limerick native has been ensconsed in Prospersous since 2002.
There was a mass last Wednesday evening for him, followed by a gathering in nearby Dowlings.
Retired local principal Tom Crehan spoke of Fr. Pat’s time in Prosperous, noting the “help and support he gave us where he could, comfort and consolation where he could not”.
“He walked with us through all the major milestones in life, quite literally from the cradle to the grave. And I think we’re here this evening to celebrate, not the fact that Fr. O’Brien has left us, but the fact that he was with us.
“It’s also an important occasion where we can celebrate the office of priesthood. We were joined this evening by Fr. Pat’s successor, Fr. Joe O’Neill, Fr. Jackie O’Connell and Fr. Billy Fulton of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, a colleague of Fr. Pat’s.”
Mr. Crehan recalled the priests very first week. “Within hours of taking up duty, Fr. Pat was over at Church View Lawns to officiate at the removal of Marie Conroy.
“And it’s ironic and coincidental that 11 years later, Fr. O’Neill’s first funeral was also in Churchview Lawns, when today we said farewell to a great parishoner, a great neightbour and a great friend in Tom Ennis.”
He noted that the past 10 years had not been easy ones for the church, but that “none the less, here we are. We are both humbled and strengthened by the last ten years.
“We learned a bit more about the man as well as the priest. Of course he brought with him the tremendous love of sport, from “that great sporting city” (Limerick).
We learned that he was a member of the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, better known to us as the Kiltegan fathers. And Fr. Pat retains a great affection and gra for that Society.
“Over the 11 years we were drawn in to the Kiltegan fathers, because when he was on holiday, or unwell, we had priests from Kiltegan filling in.”
Mr. Crehan concluded by noting that “Fr. Pat will always be welcome, and always be one of us.
“We as a parish, will retain the memories, and the good that you have done, will remain done.
“We have been enriched by the experince. We hope also that your experience was rewarding for you.”