A man who touched so many lives during his eight years he served as a priest in the parish of Ss.Peter & Pauls has been honoured by the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Clonmel.
In a tribute to the late Fr. Colm O’Brien, the World President of St. Vincent de Paul Dr. Michael Thio unveiled a plaque in his memory at Mulcahy House. He also dedicated a new education resource room at the organisation’s headquarters in Clonmel to the late priest who was a stalwart St.VdP member.
On an emotional and proud night for the O’Brien family from Waterford city, glowing tributes were paid to the dedication of Fr. Colm O’Brien who was loved by so many people in the town of Clonmel
Fr. O’Brien served in Ss Peter and Paul’s parish for eight years. He moved from Clonmel to Tramore in 2008 and he died eighteen months ago after battling with an illness.
He was ordained as a priest in 2000 in Waterford and he was appointed to his first parish in Clonmel.
His proud father Tom and his sister Lisa attended the dedication mass at Mulcahy House last Thursday evening. They were overwhelmed by the outpouring of admiration for Fr. Colm and were thrilled that a plaque was unveiled in his memory and an education room dedicated to him.
“I am very very proud.He loved Clonmel, he spoke with great affection about the people of Clonmel. We are so delighted and happy as a family that he has been remembered in such a beautiful way,” said his father Tom.
“Unveiling the plaque and dedicating the room to my brother means that his memory will live on,” said his sister Lisa.
In a fitting tribute to his legacy in Clonmel , St.Vincent de Paul decided to dedicate their new education centre to the late priest at Mulcahy House.
Kieran Stafford, Regional President of Vincent de Paul and a member of the Ss Peter and Paul conference in the town, said the St. Vincent de Paul members wanted to pay an appropriate tribute to their former colleague whom they all admired and had the greatest respect for.
“This is something we all wanted to do. It is a fitting tribute to Fr. Colm because he was always interested in the youth and he worked tirelessly to help young people. He was a wonderful person, a great people person, and he had a huge impact on the people of the town in his eight years here,” he said.
The new education room at Mulcahy House has just been recently developed and it is intended to put the room to use by allowing community groups access to it. It will also be used for VdP training, education and information meetings.
“It has been provided specifically with education in mind which was something very close to Fr. Colm’s heart,” said Kieran.
VdP members in Clonmel were deeply honoured that the occasion was attended by Dr. Michael Thio who is in the country to attend an international meeting of VdP presidents from all over the world .
“It is the first time that the international meeting of presidents is taking place in Ireland so we availed of the opportunity to invite Dr Thio down to Clonmel for this special occasion and delighted he accepted the invitation,” said Kieran Stafford.
Kieran said that Fr. Colm’s untimely death came as a great shock to the people of the town and there was a deep sense of loss in the town as a result of his passing.
To mark the occasion of the unveiling and dedication of the room, mass was celebrated by Canon Brendan Crowley. During the mass Dr. Thio presented long service medals to forty seven members from both Clonmel and Tramore.
Eamon Griffin, Clonmel Vincent de Paul said Ss.Peter & Pauls was Fr. Colm’s first parish after being ordained and he was always very involved with the local community.
“Fr. Colm was a very, very warm person, he was very good to young people. He was a man of the community and it is fitting that this room should be used for community purposes,” said Mr Griffin.
Dr. Thio said from what he had been told about Fr. Colm it was obvious that he was a wonderful ‘people person’
“Fr. Colm was a person who could engage with people. He loved engaging with the poor and the needy and he had a personality which brought him close to people in need. He had ‘God’s love’ in him to serve Christ and the poor,” said Dr. Thio.
At the function Dr. Thio praised the work being carried out in the town of Clonmel by dedicated members of St. Vincent de Paul.
“From my short visit I can see that wonderful work is being done in the town of Clonmel for the poor and for those in need. Essential work is being carried out in the community thanks to the dedications of so many volunteers in the Ss/Vincent de Paul Society.
Guests included Cormac Wilson Regional President of Northern Ireland and Brendan Dempsey Regional President of Cork.