• Tommy Hourigan, Raheen, Limerick

Article from the Grange Parish Book suggested for reading this week (week 18)


John Donworth Grew Up in Cahirguillamore before embarking on his Priestly Journey.

This week (week 18) we feature two book articles as they are very closely related. Both were written by Father John Donworth, Parish Priest of Kildimo at the present time. John grew up in


Caherguillamore, and he vividly described his recollections of those growing up years in his article, Growing Up in Caherguillamore. In his second article, My Priestly Journey, John provided great insights, at times laced with humour, into his life as a seminarian in Ireland and subsequently as a priest appointed to a number of parishes in the USA. The articles are captivating.

The following are extracts from Father John's articles:

"A little bit of mischief often occurred going home from school. Sweet ripe apples were always a target in an orchard raid. Cattle and donkeys often grazed on the roadsides. The cattle would be driven over the ditch, and there would be a challenge as to who would get up on and ride the donkey, usually an awkward and stubborn animal that would dump you off as quickly as you got on board. I remember another incident involving eels. Coming home from school we saw a long pipe sticking out of a river and we decided to pull it out. I was dressed for the summer, wearing shorts, tee-shirt and sandals with no socks. An eel slipped out of the pipe and managed to wiggle in between my foot and sandal – 'Michael Flatley' could not hold a candle to me with the dance I did in horror, thinking it was a snake."

"At thirteen, I started to live life away from Grange, and thirteen locations later I still pay a weekly visit home. It has remained and will continue to be very close to my heart."

The year was 1967. I was a student at St Munchin’s College, Corbally, Limerick. It was my final year, and I would sit my Leaving Certificate examination in June. A priest called to our classroom to talk about life in the priesthood. He was from Limerick, but he had spent a number of years as a priest in New York City and New Jersey. After his presentation, he asked to speak to me. I was somewhat puzzled as I had not yet expressed an interest in becoming a priest. He asked if I would be interested in studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey. I was not sure where New Jersey was in America, and I said I would have to think about it. Later, I said I would 'give it a try'."

"At the start of my final year in Carlow [seminary], my mother died of cancer. It was a heavy blow as I had already lost my best friend in a farm accident a few months before. Planning for an ordination in the midst of grief was very difficult; the death of my mother threw a dark cloud over my ordination.

A few months later, I headed off to New Jersey to minister in the Diocese of Paterson. I arrived there in the middle of August and was met at the airport by another Irish priest."

"The Gospel was the story about storing up treasures for the next life and condemning the storing of treasures for ourselves here on earth. There wasn’t a sound as I delivered [preached at Mass] the Gospel message. I had condemned a sizeable part of the congregation, who worked on Wall Street, Manhattan, for storing up treasures and for not following the values of the Gospel.

After Mass, there was a reception in the basement of the chapel to welcome the new priest - me. Some expressed their irritation at the content of my homily, but I did not back down. The message of the Gospel is what I preach, and that is that. It was a shaky start, but, thankfully, it only got better."

Fr John's article, Growing up in Cahirguillamore, may be read in full HERE.

Fr John's article, My Priestly Journey, may be read in full HERE.

Next week (week 19) we will suggest another article for reading.

Kind Regards to All.

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