The new Rector of Rathdrum and Derralossary with Glenealy, the Revd Brian O’Reilly, his wife Karen and son Cillian received a warm welcome to the heart of the Diocese of Glendalough last night (Monday August 25). Brian was instituted as the new Rector by Archbishop Michael Jackson in St Saviour’s Church which was full to capacity of parishioners and family, friends and supporters who had travelled the length and breadth of the country to wish Brian and his family well.
The service was attended by local public and community representatives including Cllr Pat Kennedy and Deputy Andrew Doyle, clergy from parishes in Dublin and Glendalough and beyond and representatives of other traditions including, Fr Oliver Crotty of St Kevin’s in Laragh.
Brian comes to Rathdrum from Cobh and Glamire in Cork, Cloyne and Ross where he had been Rector since 2010. He was ordained a Deacon in 2007 and served his curacy in the Parish of Seagoe in Down and Dromore. Prior to his ordination, he worked as a land surveyor, having completed his surveying studies in the College of Technology, Bolton Street (now DIT) in 1984. Brian grew up in Dublin, but spent some of his early working years in the UK.
The sermon was delivered by Canon Horace McKinley, Rector of Whitechurch, Dublin, where Brian was formerly a parishioner. He expressed his admiration for Brian, who despite being settled in his chosen career, in his forties experienced the “nagging toothache sensation – you know, the one where the toothache keeps coming back and refuses to go away – which transpired to be nothing less than the call of God to the ordained ministry”.
The reception afterwards took place in the nearby RDA Hall. There the Rural Dean, Canon Nigel Sherwood (Arklow), paid tribute to all who had worked so hard during the vacancy following the retirement of Canon John McCullagh in January. He also praised all who had put so much working into preparing for the arrival of the new Rector.
Honorary secretary of Rathdrum and Derralossary, Lin Ryan, welcomed Brian on behalf of the parish. She said it was a very happy day of the parishioners. She said they had a great belief that God had sent them the right man.
Brian thanked parishioners for their warm welcome they had given he and his family. He thanked those who had travelled from all over Ireland including Cobh and Glanmire and Seagoe. He said he and the parish group had so much to look forward to and added that he was a “man on a mission” who believed that the Church could make a difference.
In welcoming the new rector, Fr Crotty said that there was a great and comfortable relationship between both the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland traditions in the area. Principal of St Saviour’s National School, Heather Lawson, thanked everyone for their assistance during the vacancy in particular to Canon John Clarke, Ken Hastie and Ernest Mackey for their contribution to taking services. Canon Nigel Sherwood was also thanked.
Closing words for the evening were provided by Archbishop Jackson who observed that the parish had experienced a rush of energy during the vacancy. He said that Brian would bring his own insights and spirituality to the parish group and that he and his family would become embedded in the area. He added that he was proud to be Bishop of a diocese where there were parishes with such a sense of vitality.