By Noel Dundon
Fr Dominic Meehan celebrated his First Mass in the Cathedral of the Assumption on Monday evening last when parishioners turned out in force to offer their congratulatiuons and receive the new priests blessing.
It was an emotion filled occasion for Fr Dominic, his mother Fidelma and his family, especially when he administered his first blessing on his mother after Mass. The congregation descended upon the Sanctuary to receive the blessings and Fr Dominic, assisted by Rev Fr Gerard Hennessy, obliged with a wide smile.
The Bothar na Naomh Choir were in splendid voice as they performed at the First Mass together with musical accompaniment and the celebrations continued long afterwards in The Premier Hall where a special supper had been laid on for all who attended in the Cathedral of the Assumption.
Fr Dominic was joined by many of his new clerical colleagues from the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly who were there to offer support and a warm welcome.
There was also a real sense of joy in the parishes of Thurles and Templemore with locals attending to offering their congratulations and best wishes to Fr Dominic who is well known and very popular in The Cathedral Town and in Templemore where he had been a Deacon since June and where he will now be the new curate.
“I had sought advice from my friends, family and colleagues about the homily but all they would say is ‘keep it short’,” Fr Meehan joked.
He added that he felt truly blessed and very grateful that in the ebb and flow of his life to date, he never felt abandoned and always felt God’s presence in his life. Sadly, not everyone feels the same way and many are prepared to write off God without giving him a chance, he said.
“It has taken me many years to open the door to God and to answer his call despite his persistent gentle knocking,” he said.
There was a real atmosphere of celebration and thanksgiving in the Cathedral of the Assumption as family members joined in the ceremony and lapped up the special spirit which prevailed. Goodwill was evident everywhere and with the choir and musicians providing the perfect backdrop to a unique evening , there really was a serenity and sense of satisfaction that another had answered the call and would serve and help renew the Church in these difficult times.
The parish and Archdiocese did Dominic proud with the Ordination and First Mass carried off appropriately with wonderful grace, style and preyerfullness - the choirs certainly enhancing the liturgies in the wonderful setting that is the Cathedral of the Assumption.
Many men have gone before Dominic and followed the same path as he, but the fact that he was the first in 12 years to be ordained for Cashel and Emly struck a note with people. The hope is that his calling can help inspire and fill with courage, more men to walk in his footsteps in the years to come, to help nourish and maintain the Church.
After ADM Fr Martin Hayes had offered his congratulations to Fr Dominic, the bells of the Cathedral rang out loud in jubilation at the end of the First Mass. It was indeed a joyous occasion for Thurles to see one of it’s own Ordained.