OVER 100 parishioners from Fintona gathered outside St Lawrence’s Church in the town on Thursday to offer their congratulations to Fr Jim Moore on the Silver Jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood.
Fr Moore, who has spent 18 of his 25 years as a priest in the Parish of Donacavey, was surprised to see a long line of friends and well-wishers when he emerged from a special Mass of Thanksgiving for his ministry.
He was ordained on June 1995 and is a native of Scotstown in Co Monaghan.
While the continued closure of churches for worship meant that the parishioners could not celebrate the Mass with him, they still found a way to show their gratitude and congratulations for his ministry in the parish.
Fr Moore told the UlsterHerald of his total surprise and appreciation at the gesture by the people of the area, as well as all the cards and text messages which he has been receiving.
“My own preference would have been for a low-key celebration. But when I came out of Mass on Thursday morning the number of people who greeted me with their clapping and messages of congratulations was a complete surprise,” he said.
“There were people lined right the whole way to the Parochial House. It was very humbling for me and something which I really appreciated. Tom Gavin and Canon Marron both said a few words and I found everything just a little bit overwhelming.
“I suppose all of us need to be needed and acknowledged, but the fear of being the focal point of any celebration would have filled me with dread. So to have something happen without my knowledge was really nice and very much appreciation.
“For people to come out in such large numbers on a Thursday morning, and during the current restrictions, was really amazing and I just would like to thank everyone and all of those who prepared for the occasion.”
While Fr Moore has been serving in the Fintona area for those 18 years, he acknowledges to have some way to go before matching the longevity of Canon Patrick Marron. He has been in the parish for 31 years.
“By this stage, both myself and Canon Marron are very much part and parcel of the community. For me now, Fintona really is my second home.”
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