Cathedral of the Assumption is packed to capacity for Fr Niall O'Riordan's First public Mass in Ireland

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarystar.ie

Niall O'Riordan

Fr Niall O'Riordan pictured centre with their priest brothers on the steps of the Cathedral of the Assumption

Great celebrations afterwards in Thurles Sarsfields clubhouse before First Blessing was administered at evening prayer in Bohernanave Church.

The Cathedral of the Assumption was packed to overflowing on Sunday for the first public Irish Mass of recently ordained Thurles man Fr Niall O'Riordan.

Fr Niall was joined by his parents Dan and Imelda, brothers Raymond, David and James, sister Anne, relatives and a wide circle of friends for what was a very emotional and spiritual celebration in the Cathedral where he was baptised, received his First Confession, First Communion and Confirmation.

They came from all over the world for the event, including Fr Paul Sigl, founder of the Family of Mary Order, and many of his sisters and brothers, to be with Fr Niall at this very special time. Also with him were three others priests from the order who were ordained on the same day in Rome on Friday December 8th - Father Matteo Maria Tosi from Italy; Fr Damian Maria Shin from Korea; and Fr Pascal Maria Hauselmann from Switzerland. They received the warmest of welcomes and spoke of their joy at the reception accorded them in Thurles and Tipperary.

The Cathedral of the Assumption was packed to overflowing on Sunday.

It was standing room only for the Holy Mass in the Cathedral and afterwards the Thurles Sarsfields GAA clubhouse was heaving with well wishers - Fr Niall and his brothers are all past players with the club and continue close links with The Blues. There have been many great days of celebration in the clubhouse, but none quite like this as club members came together, led by Chairman Michael Maher and Treasurer Phil Leahy,  swung into action and catered for the estimated 700 people who came for food and refreshments.

Durlas Og and Thurles Sarsfields both made presentations to Fr Niall on the day, and then it was a short trip across the road to Bohernanave Church for evening prayer and the first blessing - Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly was the first to receive the blessing of the newly ordained priest. People queued for well over 90 minutes to receive the blessing from Fr Niall and his three colleagues, as the Orders beautiful choir provided a reflective and mesmeric backdrop to the event with their singing and playing.

Fr Niall pictured with his father Dan.

It really was a very special weekend in Thurles - a weekend where a céad míle failte was extended to everyone as Fr Niall was welcomed home and congratulated. His mission now takes him to to the Slovakian/Hungarian border where he will work in a gypsy encampment bringing God to the people and the people to God.

See this weeks Tipperary Star for more on this unique celebration.