50 years ……Golden Jubilee …..50 years
Michael Brendan O’Donoghue
Michael Brendan O’Donoghue was born on 10th August 1931 in Holles Street hospital, Dublin, the son of Michael and Bridie O’Donoghue. His father, a member of An Garda Siochana, served in many locations and in 1936, the family moved to Ballycolla, Co Laois, where the young Michael Brendan, now known as Brendan, went to school and received his first holy Communion and Confirmation.
In 1944, he moved to St Flannan’s College, Ennis for his secondary schooling as a boarder. On completing his Leaving Cert in 1949, he was accepted as a student for the Priesthood for the Killaloe Diocese and began his studies in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. On 17th June 1956, he was ordained a Priest for the Killaloe Diocese along with Fr’s Reuben Butler, Seamus Mullin and Pat Taaffe. Fr. Pat Carmody was ordained in St. Patrick’s College, Carlow.
The young Fr. O’Donoghue and Butler had already volunteered to serve in Africa, but the Bishop of the time, Bishop Joe Rodgers had other plans! Fr. Butler was sent back to College to learn more and Fr. Brendan was sent on loan to the Galway Diocese, serving in Oughterard and Salthill. In 1959, he joined the emigrant Apostolate in Britain and was recalled in 1961 to the teaching staff of St. Flannan’s College. This appointment was short-lived as the said Fr. Brendan did everything possible to get out of the job! In 1962, he was re-appointed to the Emigrant Apostolate in Britain, this time going to Sparkhill in Birmingham and throughout Britain.
In early 1966, the call to come home arrived and a very young energetic curate arrived in Ennis Cathedral. This was the beginning of a year 22-year appointment in the Capital town. 18 years as a Curate and the last 4 as a administrator.
During his time in Ennis, Fr. Brendan was responsible for establishing many new initiatives in the town of Ennis and the Country of Clare, including Clare Social Services (later to become Clarecare), and Ennis Old Folks Club, which continues to meet each Monday in Ennis Community Centre. Clare Special Schools Project which led to the establishment of two new schools in Ennis; St. Clare and St. Anne’s for children with special needs. A founder member of St. Francis Credit Union in Ennis, which this year celebrates 40 years, Senior Citizen’s Holiday’s in Lahinch and Kilkee, Pilgrimages to Lourdes, Rome and the Holy land, Foreign holidays for Priests and Laity, Christmas Day Dinners for the Elderly & Homeless. He also established Ennis Parish Office and appointed Mary Brohan as first Parish Secretary in 1984. This was the very first Parish Office opened in the Diocese of Killaloe. All these activities were in addition to this many pastoral responsibilities in Ennis.
In July 1988, he was appointed Parish priest in Shannon,a position he held untill he stepped down in 2002 but continues to serve the Parish. During the past 18 years in Shannon, he established the St. Vincent de Paul Society, encouraged and supported the establishment of the Adoration Chapel, established Presbyteries in Town Court, SS John & Paul, and Tullyglass Square where he now lives. For many years,he was chairman of both St. Patrick’s Comprehensive School and St. Aidan’s Primary School. In 1991,the late Bishop Harty appointed him as a second Diocesan Director of the Killaloe Pilgrimage. In the past 15 years in this direction, this Pilgrimage has grown from a modest 350 pilgrimage to well over 900 in this its Golden Jubilee Year. He also established an autumn Pilgrimage to cater for the needs of those who could not avail of the June Pilgrimage.
At this time, we are celebrating and thanking God for 50 very fruitful years of Priesthood, lived in the most extraordinary time of change in the history of both the Church avd Ireland. Yet, through the vision, hard work and prayerfulness of Canon Brendan, we see the hand of God at work in our lives and world today. Ad Multos Anno.