Peter, a man of ‘a relentless pastoral faithfulness’
Parishioners, family and friends from near and far: Dublin, Cork, Cootehill and Limerick from where Peter had previously served, all joined with the Union of Killeshin and representatives from the wider ecumenical community for a service of Holy Communion followed by a sit-down meal in the splendidly restored adjoining schoolhouse.
The Revd Peter greeted everyone at the commencement of the service and the singing was led by the choir and organist Aisling Carter. The Service of the Word was taken by Lay readers Pat Coleman and Patricia Doogue and the Gospel read by the Revd Fr John Gribben from the Communiry of the Resurrection in Mirfield (Yorkshire) who also preached the sermon. The prayers were led by Ms Mabel Talbot and Ms Jackie Neale.
In his address Fr John took as his theme the story contained in the 1958 film ‘Auntie Mame’. It tells of young boy who goes to visit one of Mame’s bohemian parties where she promises to open doors for him that he would never have dreamt to have existed. A story appropriate for Pentecost Sunday and for the 40th anniversary of Peter’s ministry.
Fr John told of the further recent connection when all Church of Ireland Bishops were on retreat with him in Yorkshire and where they studied the art of the Italian 13th Century painter Duccio di Buoninsegna. They concentrated on his paintings of Jesus and his apostles and also that of Pentecost where in one particular picture there is a door standing open for the apostles to go out into the world to preach the gospel symbolizing ‘opening doors’.
Jesus opens doors for everyone to see His world. He asked St Peter if he loved Him. He said he did and was encouraged to carry on His work and so it is handed down through the centuries and generations, poured out by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost over 2000 years ago. 40 years ago at Peter Tarleton’s ordination he was handed a bible to go tell the ‘Good News’ – this has been his share in the ministry of Christ, opening doors for people that they might have an abundance of life.
Mame loved a party, as did Christ and Fr John looked forward to the feast after this service.
The offertory was introduced by Fr John Dunphy, Parish Priest Graiguecullen, who explained the work being carried out in Carlow to help those less fortunate and for whom the collection was being donated. How a food kitchen had been started to help those who had fallen on hard times and who can come for food parcels, etc., and that it takes pressure off the financial burden of paying housekeeping bills every month. This has been possible through the generosity of the community in Carlow and he thanked in advance for the offerings that would be given at this service.
At the conclusion of the service Ms Dorcas Collier made a presentation to the Revd Peter on behalf of the Union. She welcomed all guests, remarking how Canon George Salter and Peter had been in college together. In a brief summary of Peter’s ministry she reminded the congregation of his work within the prison service, chaplain to prisoners and their families and also his hospital chaplaincy. Very much a ‘people person’, when Peter arrived in the parish just over two years ago, he very quickly got to know everyone and where they lived. Also being very ecumenically minded he rapidly integrated into the whole community of the area. He leads a very active and sporting life, taking part in marathons both on foot and by bicycle, all of which with a fund-raising angle to his activities. He is soon to be heading up Mt Leinster. As well as all that he sings with the Castlecomer Male Voice Choir. And finally Dorcas said how privileged and blessed Killeshin is to have him as their rector and pastor.
Peter thanked Dorcas and everyone and remembered his own father Dennis, who had also been ministry, as he gave thanks for his 40 years service.
Afterwards, outside the Revd Peter greeted his congregation and everyone made their way to the schoolhouse where the repast and fellowship was enjoyed.
The Bishop who was having a busy Sunday attending various occasions and joined the Killeshin celebrations. At the gathering in the schoolhouse he thanked all those who had carried out the preparations for the afternoon, especially in the catering area. It has been a joy to see the enthusiasm, the spiritual depth that Peter has brought to this Union of parishes – Peter the ‘perfect priest’ because he combines intelligence, wit and a certain radical edge and in the midst of all that a relentless pastoral faithfulness.
The diocese has been fortunate in attracting someone of Peter’s experience and energy to the area. Before the Bishop asked everyone to raise their glass to Peter, he reminded him and everyone that no one need leave office until the end of the quarter following their 75th birthday – and in Peter’s case, he is but young!
The final act of the afternoon was the cutting of the wonderful cake in the form of a bible and candle made by Ms Vivienne Rigley.