Almost eighty parishioners gathered for the celebration of Holy Mass on Thursday 28th August 2014 at 7 pm in Immaculate Conception Church, Oadby. It was the feast of St Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, the date is also the first anniversary of the death of the first parish priest of Oadby; Father John Feeley and it was the date chosen for a celebration to bid farewell to Father Philip McBrien as he prepares to leave for his new appointments in Nottingham.
Father Philip with Deacon Joe Dawson (left) and Father Michael Moore (right)
With a busy sanctuary, Father Philip was assisted by Deacon Joe Dawson from St Thomas More Church, Knighton and Father Michael Moore parish priest of the same parish concelebrated at the Mass with Father Philip. Father Simon Gillespie is on holiday in Scotland at the moment and could not attend. These three men constitute the team of clergy appointed by Monsignor McGovern, our diocesan administrator, to take on pastoral care of Oadby in addition to their duties in Knighton.
Servers of Immaculate conception assisted at the Mass under the leadership of senior servers, Matthew Luke and David Ludlow.
Father Philip and the altar servers after Mass
After Mass everyone moved to the parish room where a marvellous spread had been prepared by the parishioners during the day. The pictures show the crowded parish room; one of the legacies of Father Philip's six years in Oadby parish.
The obligatory cake cutting
About halfway through the proceedings Mr Vince Hope-Shannon, chairman of the pastoral council, made a brief address,
at the end of the speech, Miss Maura Cotter made a presentation of a cheque which was the sum of all the donations made by parishioners over the past six or seven weeks to Father Philip.
Ever to be the last one speaking Father Philip made a reply thanking all parishioners for their generosity of the presentation, but more especially for the warm welcome he received six years ago when he was appointed parish priest in 2008, for the support over the years and the enthusiastic way everyone has responded to the pastoral initiatives undertaken together in that time. The parish room itself is a fine testimony to the co-operation built up in six years, but more so the activities that take place in the room: the children's liturgy on Sunday mornings; parish council meetings; preparation for the Sacraments of Confession, Holy Communion and Confirmation; fund-raising events and parish open meetings, including preparation for the New Translation of the Missal and the series of meetings in the consultation 'You are Living Stones' begun by Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP. The event wound down soon after nine o'clock; after all it was school in the morning for some of those present! The groaning tables of food and drink for the refreshments were virtually cleared; a fine testament to how all had enjoyed the evening together.
One word to finish: during his reply Father Philip spoke of his confidence for the future of Immaculate Conception Parish Oadby stating his confidence was based on the co-operation and help from many parishioners. He added words of encouragement that younger members of the parish need to step forward and learn from those already heavily committed to working with the clergy of the parish, so that in due time, those who have laboured so hard up to this point may relax a little and handover responsibility for the future of the parish into younger hands, suitably trained and with fresh energy and vision.
"The future is about teamwork, and there is no 'I' in teamwork."