In the splendid and magnificent Neo-Gothic setting of Gunn Chapel at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, the changing of the guard occurred on Sunday, 6 August 2017, when Fr Michael Casey SDB’s tenure as Provincial of the Irish and Maltese Province came to an end and Fr Eunan McDonnell SDB was formally inducted to serve for the coming six years as Provincial for the regions formally known as ‘St Patrick’s Province’.
In a most fitting Induction Ceremony, Fr Tadeusz Rozmus SDB, Regional for North-Central Europe, as delegate for the Salesian Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime SDB, was chief celebrant of the Mass of Transfiguration, with some twenty Salesian confreres from Malta, Poland, Swaziland, and Ireland concelebrating with him and the two Provincials. The entire ceremony was expressed as a ‘Passage of Light’ from the outgoing Provincial to the incoming one, with the congregation being reminded that “the light was given to Don Bosco whose mission was to pass the light on to the young, especially the poorest.”
Deacon Dominic Binh SDB intoned and read the Gospel. Fr Tadeusz’s homily reflected on the Salesian charisma and the transfer of light from one generation to the next. At the moment of induction, Fr Eunan affirmed his Catholic faith and belief, leading the concelebrants and congregation in the profession of the Creed.
That done, Frs Tadeusz and Eunan both signed the appropriate documents of appointment arising from the approval by the Rector Major on the 22nd December 2016 of Fr Eunan’s earlier election by his confrères in the Irish and Maltese Province.
All houses of the Salesians in Ireland, together with representatives from many branches of the Salesian Family in Ireland, together with Fr Eunan’s family, were present to participate in this Mass of joy and celebration. The congregation comprised of many members of the Salesian family in Ireland and many supporters of the Salesians’ work.
Fr Lukasz Nawrat SDB was present to photograph the celebration for posterity. Fr Koenraad Van Gucht SDB acted as Master of Ceremonies. Fr Paddy Hennessy SDB had some final words of thanks to Fr Michael Casey, the outgoing Provincial, and some words of welcome for Fr Eunan McDonnell, the incoming Provincial, before inviting all present to repair to Pugin Hall for lunch and refreshment. Fr Pat Egan SDB, provincial secretary, carefully retrieved from the altar the formal documents of appointment.
All in all, a splendid celebration, in truly magnificent venue, of a moment of Salesian history in Ireland!
By Michael J McCann