By Danielle Chinnon
FATHER Brian O’Shea, parish priest of St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Peter’s RC Church, Grays, recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
Over six hundred people, including family, attended his special Anniversary Mass which was con-celebrated with The Right Reverend Thomas McMahon Apostolic Administrator of Brentwood Diocese, Monsignor George Stokes, Fr. Guy Sawyer, and Fr. Anthony McKentey. Reverend Darren Barlow of St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s parish, Grays was also present on the sanctuary.
Addressing the congregation, Bishop McMahon, said of Fr. Brian: “he has served selflessly and unconditionally.”, referring to his dedication to his priestly ministry. This sentiment was further underlined by Fr. Guy, “You know his love for you, his sincerity, his pastoral care and his complete dedication… to you and to your parish.”
Mr Michael Walsh, speaking on behalf of parishioners, then paid a very warm tribute to Fr. Brian before presenting him with gifts from the parish which included a Papal Blessing, a bottle of champagne, a cheque and a handmade card signed by parishioners.
After the Mass, the celebration continued downstairs with guests and parishioners enjoying a buffet lunch.
Among the guests attending was Andrew MacKinlay, former Labour MP. Mr Mackinlay said: “Fr. Brian is a great Pastor and a friend of all. We wish him well for the next forty years of his ministry! His Anniversary Mass was filled with joy as it celebrated both his ministry and the rich diversity of the Grays parish and community”
Reflecting on his special day, Father Brian commented: “There was a wonderful spirit of a great family coming together in joy. I am so grateful to so many people who worked so hard to make it unforgettable. I am so blessed to serve the community of Thurrock.”