Supporting Local News

Parishioners come together to mark 90th birthday of veteran priest

By Linda Walsh

The parishes of Milltown and Kilconly came together to celebrate Canon John D. Flannery’s 90th Birthday last Friday – and to thank him for his unstinting service.

They gathered at Milltown Community Centre to honour and celebrate a man who has been a pillar of faith and community support for decades.

Despite officially retiring from his duties in 2009, he has remained actively involved in and continues to serve, both Milltown and Kilconly parishes, as well as providing generous assistance service, to many neighbouring parishes.

With a deep sense of gratitude and strong community support, the large crowd of well-wishers in attendance, warmly welcomed Canon John D on his arrival, with a resounding standing ovation.

He was joined by members of his family and after some light refreshments and musical entertainment, Canon John D was interviewed by Benin Tierney, where he spoke in detail and with wonderfully sharp memory recall, about his early life, his ordination to the priesthood, the parishes in which he served in, the GAA and his involvement with Macra na Tuatha which later became, Foróige.  Many photographs, recalling the aspects of his life’s work and achievements through the decades, were also exhibited.

John David Flannery was born on May 14 1934 in Milltown.  He attended Milltown national school and, following attendance at secondary school, in both Ballinrobe and St. Jarlath’s College, Tuam, he was ordained to the priesthood on the 21st of June 1959, in St. Patrick’s College Maynooth by Archbishop McQuaid.

Canon John D., spoke fondly of many memories of his time spent in the various parishes around Galway and Mayo in which he served.

He was Curate in the parishes of Inishbofin/Inish Shark 1959-1966, Williamstown 1966, Balla 1966-1967, Williamstown again in 1967, Toureen 1967-1975 and in Athenry 1975-1990.

He was then appointed Parish Priest in Letterfrack from 1990 to 1993, and Lackagh from 1993 to 2009.

Following on from the interview, Fr Frank Conlisk, Administrator of Milltown and Kilconly parishes, took to the floor and spoke about how grateful he was personally and how grateful the parishes were, to have Canon John D., still assisting in parish work. He told the audience that some people in life are loved and some people in life are respected and held in high regard and that Canon John D was both, which is something very special and a testament to the type of person he is.

As a token of appreciation from both Milltown and Kilconly parishes, Fr. Conlisk presented Canon John D., with a beautiful portrait painting, by local artist, Mags Costello of Tuam.

To end the celebrations, a large birthday cake was presented with the singing of ‘Happy Birthday!’ and the echoes of another standing ovation of warm applause.

Linda Walsh is a member of St Joseph’s Church Pastoral Council, Milltown.

Pictured: Tom and Mary Burke, Milltown and Fr. John David Flannery at his 90th birthday celebrations in Milltown.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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