The sun shone on Newcastle on Tuesday 22 June, the Feast of Ss John Fisher and Thomas More as Bishop Robert celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral year’s with some of this year’s priestly jubilarians, celebrating centuries of priestly service between them.

The Bishop was joined at the Cathedral by Fr John O’Gorman (70 years) Fr Patrick Kennedy and Fr Mark Carroll (60 years); Fr Brendan Kelly and Fr Jim O’Keefe (50 years); Fr Philip Quinn (40 years) and Canon Simon Lerche and Fr Graham Williams (25 years).

In his homily, Bishop Robert spoke of God’s grace and friendship with Christ being at the heart of priestly ministry. The bishop pondered on the words of Christ ‘I no longer call you servants but friends’ (John 15:15), saying that these words contained within themselves the whole programme of priestly life. Bishop Robert called to mind Ss John Fisher and Thomas More, on whose feast the Mass was celebrated, stating that the saints teach us the overriding power of love, which is at the heart of all vocations, no matter what they are.

Jubilarian's Mass June 2022

The Bishop thanked the priest jubilarians in the name of the Diocese for their faithful service to the bishops and people of the Diocese. ‘You will remember the good times and the bad, give thanks for all of them, for that is the weft and weave that has made you priests, the priests that you are. All of us here today, and your parishioners, join with you in a massive ‘Te Deum’ – Thank God. And we wish you ‘ad multos annos’, many happy years for your future ministry with us. Thank you, Fathers, for all that you have done and continue to do’.

At the end of Mass Bishop Robert named the priests and invited the congregation to show their appreciation, which they duly obliged, with a sustained round of applause.

Following the Mass, the jubilarians and their guests enjoyed a buffet meal in the Cathedral’s Cloister Café.