Updated: 07/10/16 : 05:06:42
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Sligo community marks unique double event

SLIGO MARKED a unique double in one of its local communities last night, Thursday.

Hundreds turned out in tribute to local curate, Fr Stephen Walsh, now 16 years at St Anne's on the east side of town.

But the honours last night were due for his Golden Jubilee, having been ordained in Dublin in the summer of 1966.

Missionary Work

Back then England were about to become world champions at soccer and Donough O'Malley was about to announce 'free' secondary education.

Half of Fr Walsh's life was spent on missionary work with the Holy Ghost order in Kenya.

His sister Mary also marks 50 years as a religious this year.

Much of her life was spent with the Sisters of Mercy in Rwanda, including its civil war years.

Beyond Measure

''Double happiness'' was how Fr Walsh publicly described the twin Jubilee at last night's ceremony.

He also praised his late parents -- from near Elphin in north Roscommon -- for their ''sacrifices beyond measure.''

Current Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran and his predecessor, Christy Jones, both attended the event.

Also there was Fr Walsh's first parish priest when he came to Sligo -- Canon Liam Devine, the ''Roscommon Herald'' GAA specialist contributor.

Keen Linguist

Last night's tributes were led by the man who was his Sligo parish priest for 15 years -- Fr Dominick Gillooly.

Between them, the two men now have a (unique) combined 'century' of active ministry.

The St Anne's church was officially opened in 1958 but the area did not get recognition as a parish until the early 1970s.

Final stat for Fr Walsh: Apart from being a Biblical scholar, he is also a keen linguist.

His language interests include German, Latin, Greek.....and Irish.