Distanced but fond farewell to Father Owen
Ministers from many Market Harborough churches along with the local Churches Together Executive Committee held a socially distanced farewell presentation to Fr Owen O’Neill who retires on 16 September after 55 years in ministry, 19 of them at Our Lady of Victories Church in Harborough.
The short presentation at St Hugh’s Church in Northampton Road, was held days before new government restrictions would have banned such gatherings except for formal church services. The Revd Christopher Brown, pastor of Harborough Baptist Church, paid tribute to Fr Owen’s wisdom and grace and his support for ministers of all denominations.
Recalling his first parish in Nottinghamshire 55 years ago, Fr Owen, who grew up in Ireland, said that until the local Anglican vicar invited him to his house, he had never known a non-Catholic. “But from that moment I decided to open my heart to all churches,” he said, adding that “Churches Together in Harborough has been a joy and a blessing. It’s essential that we continue to share together, reach out together and love one another.”
Christopher Brown presented Fr Owen with a framed picture showing both Our Lady of Victories Church and St Dionysius and the Old Grammar School, on behalf of the Ministers’ Fellowship.
Janet Smith, Chair of Churches Together in Harborough, presented him with a card and a cheque for his personal use which had been collected from donations from all the churches.
You can watch a video interview with Fr Owen below or at youtube.com/watch?v=99k8jjV9aDM.