On Tuesday, 28 November we welcomed Bishop Pat Lynch SS CC, along with Canon Tom McHugh, Fr Steve Wymer and Fr Mark Binang to Bishop Challoner School. The occasion was the unveiling of a portrait of Canon Jack Madden who was the Parish Priest at St Edmund’s and Chairman of the Board of our school for almost 30 years.. There were also present a number of guests who were close friends of Canon Jack. It was a wonderful occasion which included a Memorial Mass, the blessing of the portrait and the blessing of a tree, planted in his memory.
Bishop Pat preached a moving homily about Canon Jack. He described him as a ‘Good Shepherd’, after the example of Christ, as one who leads, unites and cares. He explained that these qualities were evident in Canon Jack’s ministry as he served in various parishes, at Bishop Challoner School and in the many other responsible positions he had held. During the Mass the portrait by Jeff Stultiens was blessed and the school choir sang a beautiful rendition of a ‘Gaelic Blessing’ by Bob Chilcott. Bishop Pat thought that Canon Jack would have really appreciated this tribute, as he had fostered a particular love of nature, growing up in the ‘Wild West’ countryside of County Roscommon.
After the Mass guests gathered at the front of the school and Bishop Pat blessed a Ceanothus tree dedicated to Canon Jack’s memory. This particular Ceanothus grows to about six feet tall but its branches can spread up to eight feet wide a reminder that Canon Jack’s ministry was widespread. Also, the tree blooms with abundant blue flowers through, spring, summer and autumn, a further reminder of the fruitfulness of his ministry.
It was a pleasure to share such a joyful occasion with Canon Jack’s close friends and to hear about all the good things that he had achieved in his life. Let us remember him in our prayers and give thanks for the wonderful work that he did on earth and let us ask him to pray for us who are still on the journey.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,.
May God hold you, May God hold you
Ever in the palm of His hand.
The palm of His hand.
(Lyrics by Bob Chilcott based upon the Gaelic Blessing)