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6th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - 12th February, 2017

The word ‘goodbye’ is a difficult word for most of us. It feels like a final farewell. It has also been used on popular TV programmes to dismiss, rather harshly, certain contestants. Other languages make it a little easier. In French ‘au revoir’ is used meaning, until seen again, and, likewise in Spanish, ‘hasta la vista’.

The Travelling people never say ‘goodbye’ but rather ‘good luck’ on parting. ‘Goodbye’ is the final salutation at the time of death.

Yet, if we look at the word ‘goodbye’ it is rich in meaning. It comes from ‘godbwe’ which is a contraction of ‘God be with you’.

So this week the parishioners said goodbye to Fr. Kevin. It is a blessing of thanksgiving. It is saying God be with you for your ten years with us as parish priest since 2007 and your interest in us as a parish during your previous years as Provincial of the Vincentian congregation in Britain and Ireland.

It will be difficult to fill your shoes and to walk in your footprints. However as new parish priest so welcomed by the parishioners since coming last weekend I did promise to try to walk in the same direction. The parishioners have promised to steer me back on track should I veer too much off the well-worn and trusted path mapped out for me over many years and even to suggest that the path I might be tempted to take is not the one that Fr. Kevin might take!

Meanwhile we do say ‘goodbye’ in the classical sense to Fr. Kevin. God be with you for your selfless and single-minded dedication to Mill Hill parish and its parishioners and perhaps ‘au-revoir’ may be more appropriate after all – until we see you again and soon!

Fr. Michael McCullagh C.M.

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