A County Derry priest has reason to celebrate having just marked his Golden Jubilee, however, he’s hoping the Republic of Ireland football team will give him an extra reason to celebrate when they take on Italy on Wednesday.
From Kilrea, originally, Parish Priest of Faughanvale and Lower Cumber, Fr. Patrick Mullan, is the first cousin of Republic of Ireland manager, Martin O’Neill.
Having watched Ireland’s defeat to Belgium, Fr. Mullan will no doubt have the boys in green in his prayers when they face Italy in what is a must-win game for the team in Euro 2016.
In the meantime, Fr. Mullan has thanked fellow clergy, parishioners, and family who helped him celebrate his 50th anniversary on Friday at a special mass.
He trained at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth and was ordained on June 19th, 1966.
Fr. Mullan has witnessed no end of sadness and joy in the parishes where he has served.
And in each parish, he said, the people have welcomed him with nothing but kindness. He has been present as countless baptisms, weddings and funerals.
“I’ve met some wonderful people and forged some wonderful friendships,” he said.
When asked what the past 50 years have been like, Fr. Mullan said: “It’s been a flash in many ways; the good times and the bad.”
And there have been many of both.
Fr. Mullan has served in a number of parishes in counties Derry, Tyrone and Donegal.
For the last 17 years he has been Parish Priest of Faughanvale and Lower Cumber.
When asked if there is anything he would do differently, Fr. Mullan said: “I have no regrets. I feel very blessed.”