LAST Friday night was a very special one in Ballinascarthy Hall as Monsignor Barry O’Leary celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood after concelebrated mass in Timoleague Church at 7pm, attended by Bishop Buckley among many other clergy.
Born near Inchigeela in 1939, Fr Barry attended Mount Mellary Seminary in Waterford and the Pontifical College in Lisbon before being ordained in 1966. He administered in Wales, Ecuador, the US and Ireland.
His golden jubilee was attended by family, relatives and friends from far and near. Ballinascarthy Hall committee chairman, Ned O’Flynn welcomed the large gathering and congratulated Mons Barry on his special ocassion, he thanked everyone for their help in organising the celebration, the Clogagh and Timoleague Ladies’ Clubs and especially Betty Hennessy and Ann O’Sullivan for the added sparkle to the hall.
Bob Allen, principal of Clogagh NS, welcomed Fr Barry as a neighbour and a priest and added that it was great to see the bright lights in the former curate’s house in Clogagh, as well as a colourful garden. Bob thanked him for helping the school prepare for first communion and read an extract from Frank O’Connor’s ‘The First Confession.’
Edward MacSweeney spoke on behalf of the congregation in Timoleague and marvelled at the ‘full house’ for the golden jubilee mass and hoped it was a sign of things to come.
Friends from Wales paid glowing tributes to Mons Barry and said he was a marvellous community priest, focused on ‘what’s important in life.’
He was commended on his tireless work with L’Arche and people with intellectual disabilities.
Just prior to cutting his beautifully-decorated jubilee cake, Mons Barry said he was suitably embarrassed but delighted’ to hear such ‘nice thing whilst still living as opposed to at a funeral!’
On Sunday, he celebrated mass in his native St. Finbarr’s Church, Inchigeela to commemorate his first mass there on the same date, June 5th, 1966.