Last Saturday, 14, September 2013, the Salesians of St John Bosco gathered in the afternoon at St Catherine’s centre for a seminar on safeguarding children. This seminar was well attended by all the confreres and the provincial, Fr Michael Casey SDB emphasised the importance of the seminar and noted that is a key responsibility of each Salesian in assisting and implementing safeguarding policy and procedures within the province in achieving a consistent and up to date standard of best practice.
In the evening there was a Mass of thanksgiving at Seán Mc Dermott Street Parish to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fr James O’Halloran as a Salesian priest. During the homily he shared with all those present some of the aspects that were most meaningful in his life. He recalled that as a seminarian in Italy at the time of the opening of Vatican II the vision of Church which was proposed really captured his imagination. In Paragraph 4 of the Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on the Church says: “the universal church is seen to be: a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.
He found these words particularly significant because of the profound implications for the Church and the whole world. In effect, he added, we are asked in the Church to be a community as the Trinity is community. Communities of love here on earth take their style from that unity. One important way, therefore, in which the vision of the Council fathers is being achieved, is through these small Christian communities that are open to one another and flow into larger assemblies, such as the parish, to form basic ecclesial communities. Fr James remarked that for the past forty years he spent much of his ministry in community building. This apostolate involved a lot of travel and he continually found himself challenged to openness by the Spirit. He ended by expressing his gratitude to God for his vocation and to all those people who have helped him to live a life of service. After the Mass the local community provided some refreshments in the hall for the family and friends who had gathered to be with Fr James on this special occasion.