Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (Presbyterorum Ordinis)

The second function discussed by the bishops is the function of the priest as sanctifier:

“God, who alone is holy and who alone bestows holiness, willed to take as his companions and helpers, men who would humbly dedicate themselves to the work of sanctification. Hence, through the ministry of the bishop, God consecrates priests, that being made sharers by special title in the priesthood of Christ, they might act as his ministers in performing sacred functions.” This quote comes from n.5 of Presbyterorum Ordinis and I copied it from the newsletter dated May 28th, Pentecost Sunday. After quoting these lines on May 28th, I wrote: “We will look at this function over the next two weeks.” It has been a long two weeks! Four weeks later I return to those lines and I do so in the light of the 70th Anniversary of the Ordination of Canon Colie O’Donovan. He was ordained on the 21st June 1953 and in the 70 years he served as priest in the Diocese of Southwark in England in 1953-54. He was Chaplain in Mallow from 1954-1961, C.C in Donoughmore from 1961-1969, C.C. Glantane from 1969-1983, C.C, Youghal from 1983-1989, and P.P. Inniscarra from 1989-2003. Since his retirement he has lived in Midleton and has been active in different ways in the last 20 years here. He has been chaplain to the Presentation sisters, he has brought joy to the older members of the parish in the McAuley Centre as he entertained them in song and story and has brought knowledge of Catechism and Scripture to parishioners as well and many other things no doubt that I have not mentioned. He was ordained nine years before Vatican II began. He was in Donoughmore for its duration and the early implementation of what came from the Council.

He has given and still gives wonderful example to his fellow priests of the dedication to ministry that we are all called to live. When you think of how many Masses, how many baptisms, how many confessions, how many first communions, how many confirmations, how many weddings, how many people he has anointed, how many funerals he has celebrated and how many people he has helped and encouraged in different and often difficult circumstances through these seventy years and still continues to live that life of encouraging the people he encounters. May God bless him and may he continue to ‘humbly dedicate himself to the work of sanctification’ and evangelisation among us for a good while yet to come!