On Sunday June 18th there was a special Mass celebrated in Sidmouth, with a party afterwards to honour Fr Paddy Gilgarriff’s Platinum Jubilee! Jill McGauley, who with her husband Peter is a long time friend of Fr Paddy shared with us that ‘He had a really great day, with his good friend Canon Denis Colin joining him on the Altar, along with Deacon Declan, who had so kindly driven Canon Denis up from Poole starting out at 7.00am that morning to be there.  We welcomed them with a well-earned cup of coffee to start their day when they arrived! Father Paddy had a “Full House”.  The church was packed and the Hall was full to bursting afterwards with everyone wanting to wish Father Paddy well and thank him for all his prayers, sermons, love and care he had extended to all during his many, many years in Sidmouth – he is greatly loved and treasured by all our parish.  He had a lovely time and dined really well. He especially enjoyed his smoked salmon sandwiches and homemade lemonade. It was a tiring day for Father Paddy, with Mass including the Presentation of a Papal Blessing and a gift from Sidmouth Parish and then a special buffet in the Hall where he presided with all his family from Canada present and his many friends and parishioners. Peter and I spoke to him on the phone later on and he said he had enjoyed every minute of it and it was a day to remember.’

Tanya Trevena, who works for Caritas Plymouth has also shared a reflection on this unique and joyful occasion:

‘It was a pleasure to return to my old family parish yesterday to celebrate the platinum jubilee of Father Paddy Kilgarriff’s ordination. This wonderful priest who welcomed me to Sidmouth many years ago, by regaling me with stories of having lunch with my grandparents, back in the early days when he was a priest in Shaldon, and made me feel like I belonged already. Fr. Paddy, in his usual style, opened the Mass with introductions and welcome to his family and his friend Fr. Denis Collin. Their 70 years of service together spilled out in the mutual gratitude for the friendship they have shared for all this time. Canon Paul Cummin’s Homily made reference to the joint 140 years they had given to looking after the flock. He shared about how you can’t walk down the street with Fr. Paddy, without being stopped every 10 yards by someone he knows and is loved by!  A true testimony to the connections that are made when you truly prize others for who they are, and a demonstration of how he has served others through his actions. He encouraged us all to honour both men by following their example by reaching out to others in love. The celebrations continued in the hall as we all toasted our treasured friend. Congratulations Fr. Paddy.’