This St. Andrew’s Day, the Scots College welcomes priests from Scotland celebrating landmark jubilees. One of the guests of honour this year, Monsignor Basil Canon O’Sullivan, Parish Priest in Dunblane, reflects on his life serving God and his people.
Serving the people of God in the priesthood is so wonderful, and every day spent and every person met and every work done becomes a privilege and a blessing when done in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A parish priest baptises babies, always a joyful event as we celebrate new life from God. He follows the growing child through school, presides over the child’s Confirmation and First Communion, is still with them through their high school career, and no doubt, is around at the time of the engagement and pre-marriage preparation. Then, with the joy of a wedding, the priest shares in a happy memory for that child he baptised and hopefully, the cycle continues, when he baptises the children born of the marriage. Of course, it is not always the same child, as a priest moves around at the request of the Bishop, but it is always the same privilege and grace at whatever stage the priest is involved.
And, at the end of the day, the priest is also present at the sick bed, there to administer the last sacraments to the dying person, encouraging them and interceding on their behalf with Almighty God. The priest buries the dead, commending them to God’s mercy and forgiveness and the priest consoles the living with Christian faith and hope.
I have to say that God has been very good to me. No words can describe the life and privilege of a priest and how wonderful it is to serve the Lord every day and how loving and supportive the parishioners – God’s holy people – are and have been throughout my life as a Priest.
I am a humble worker in the vineyard, as Pope Benedict said. I can only thank God for these wonderful graces and blessings. I thank Him for his people who were so good to me along the way. I thank the Lord for my Irish family and friends and for the training for the Priesthood I received in All Hallows College, Dublin; for this beautiful Diocese of Dunkeld where I have spent 60 grace-filled years as a priest, and thank Him for our Bishops, Priests and Parishioners from whom I have received so much love and kindness all my days.
May the Lord be good to them all.