The highlight of the year for Jesuits, colleagues and friends was the beatification of Fr John Sullivan SJ in May. The Mass and beatification ceremony itself (the first ever beatification in Ireland) was filmed by Kairos and live-streamed on the day. But as the final preparations were in full swing, in the background Ronnie Byrne was filming, and Stefanie Larkin was interviewing, many of those involved. Above is a short video giving a real flavour of what went on behind the scenes on that special day.
Some of the people interviewed in the video where part of the organising committee for the beatification, headed up by Fr Gerry Clarke SJ, Parish Priest of Gardiner St Church. They had a few short weeks to prepare for the special occasion and the excitement of the plans all coming together so well on the day is palpable in the video.
In another development, two members of that committee, were honoured by Clane Community Council for their dedication and work in promoting the case for the canonisation of Fr John, who spent so much of his life in the Clane area. Fr Conor Harper, Vice-Postulator for the cause of Fr John, and Cait Cullen, a native of Co. Kildare, were presented with a framed drawing of the Abbey Community Centre and tower – the iconic symbol of Slane – on Sunday 3 December.
Over 150 people attended the event in the Abbey Community Centre in Clane. Recipients for the Clanaodh award are determined by a ballot based on a short-list drawn up in November. The Community Council presents the award as a way of acknowledging local volunteers for the contribution they have made to the community during the previous year. On presenting the award, the Community Council chairman Paul Carroll said, “We chose Fr Harper and Cait Cullen for the award because of all the effort they have put into the cause of Blessed John Sullivan.”
Recipients of the award do not know they’ve been chosen for the honour until the events take place. Conor Harper SJ was delighted and surprised when his name was announced. Referencing his Jesuit suit-and-tie attire, he apologised jokingly that “he came dressed as a man rather than in a clerical collar!” He went on to express his deep gratitude to the people of Clane and the wider community for their dedication to the cause of Fr John Sullivan. “I am deeply moved by it,” he said. “Clane is the place where I have spent most of my life and from the beginning the people of Clane have been behind the cause with me.”