Fr John O’Byrne, CMF, 50th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination

A Note from Fr John…

“what return shall I make to the Lord for all he has given to me?”

The only thing I am sure of at this time is that it is utterly impossible for me to make any worthwhile return to the Lord for all he has given to me throughout my life and especially in the last fifty years of priesthood. I just

have an overwhelming sense of gratitude and amazement. Gratitude for what he has called me to and amazement because it’s me. Why me! Well, I have no idea ‘why me’ but I do know that it was entirely his doing so I don’t question his reasons.

I am forever indebted to my parents and family and indeed to that entire generation amongst whom I grew up where the faith was a lived reality in everyday life and where the seeds of my vocation were first sown. In 1955 I came to Hayes with my brother Vincent but he died here in 1957. I have always felt that he was a wise and kindly guardian to me over the years.

Shortly after Vincent’s death, Fr. Kieran Vaughan cmf asked me one day if I had ever thought of the priesthood. Well, I hadn’t, and in fact while I felt rather flattered that he should think so, wondered if perhaps he had mistaken me for someone else! However, a seed was sown but it was some four years later before a decision was reached.

During those four years, I was part of a group that enjoyed an active social life – such as it was in the late fifties – but was also involved in various parish activities. It was during these years that I realised that while the other members if the group were moving ahead with their lives, my life seemed to have hit a blank wall. Ideas of priesthood kept coming back to me but I was now in my late twenties and any idea of attempting these seemed more remote than ever.

During that dark period of doubt and confusion, it was the unfailing support and encouragement of my friends that finally enabled me to make the decision that changed my life forever. I shall forever be indebted to them and so, understandably, Hayes, where I was eventually ordained and its people have always held a special place in my heart and its my great privilege to share this amazing occasion with you. Let is continue to pray for and support one another .

Fr. John O’Byrne, cmf

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What a witness saw –

Note: by Joseph Raju Kattula, CMF

“We give thanks to God, the giver of all blessings, for the great achievements of Fr John’s long apostolate among the people of God. Today along with the Claretian family, faithful more than five hundreds joined Fr. John in thanking the Lord for the gift of life and the vocation he received to live, love and serve the people of God. Fr John worked at several places in England and Wales and people came from all these places where he worked to participate in the celebration. We had a solemn mass at the parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Hayes.

It was wonderful to see Fr John celebrating his Golden Jubilee in the same Botwell church where he got ordained 50 years ago. Fr Paul Smyth cmf, when he asked the congregation to see how many were there for the ordination of Fr. John, it was lovely to see quite a few hands coming up. Fr. John was pleased with the celebration and expressed his gratitude to all. The liturgy and choir made a special impact on everyone. People expressed their joy by doing wonderful decoration in the church and the parish hall where we all gathered later to the second part of the day with plenty of finger licking food. We wish and pray that the good lord grant Fr. John many more years of good health to spread the flames of Gods love to all.

–Fr Joseph Raju Katthula CMF, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish,
Botwell House, Botwell Lane, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 2AB, UK