BY Ryan McDougall | September 21 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Jubilee priest privileged to be at the heart of people’s lives

A priest marking the silver jubilee of his ordination has spoken of the ‘privilege of being at the heart of people’s lives, highs and lows.’

A PRIEST marking the silver jubilee of his ordination has spoken of the ‘privilege of being at the heart of people’s lives, highs and lows.’

Fr Jim Hayes, much loved by his community in the Galloway Diocese, is the parish priest of three churches: St Teresa of Lisieux in Dumfries, Holy Trinity in Lockerbie and St Luke’s in Moffat.

After 25 years in the priesthood, a vocation in which he has been a school chaplain, a prison chaplain, travelled across the world and held several other roles in the Church, he said: “I really don’t know of any other walk of life that could give someone such variety.”

Fr Hayes enjoyed the first of several celebrations at St Teresa of Lisieux on September 16 with his friends, family, clergy and principal celebrant Bishop William Nolan of Galloway.

“One day you wake up and realise 25 years have gone,” he said. “If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that you get to a milestone like this and realise how much you’ve still to learn even now.”

He said that, after a landmark anniversary, people often expect a newfound wisdom from the person concerned. “I think they’re going to be sadly mistaken, I’m still the same man as I was yesterday,” Fr Hayes joked.

Fr Hayes became a seminarian at 18 and was guided by Sacred Heart fathers, before eventually being ordained a priest at St John Ogilvie’s church in Irvine.

His first role as a priest was also at St John Ogilvie’s, where he will later enjoy a small-scale gathering with his family in honour of his jubilee.

Recalling the last quarter-century, he looked back fondly on all those who have made a positive impact on his life.

“I’m so grateful to all the people that, as a priest, you serve in many different places, even going away back to college days,” he said. “It makes you think of all those who influenced you.

“I’m full of gratitude for my parishes just now for the way they’re happily celebrating with me, it’s been truly wonderful.

“It’s been a privilege being at the heart of people’s lives, highs and lows, from weddings and Baptisms to illness and death. I really hope I’ve been helpful to others over these years.”

Fr Hayes said of the jubilee celebrations: “It was very nice of everyone, including Bishop Nolan, to come to the church.

“I’m usually a bit embarrassed if these things are about me—I don’t mind it if it’s for someone else but it’s different when it’s you! But it was a lovely day, lovely to see everybody enjoying themselves too: the celebration belonged to everybody, and we were all very uplifted by it.”

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