Kingston’s archbishop celebrates five decades of service to the Catholic church
Kingston archbishop Brendan O’Brien is being celebrated after serving the Catholic church for the past five decades, an accomplishment many note has taken equal parts commitment and compassion.
O’Brien says he has always felt welcomed in Kingston.
“I feel very at home here, and the people … always seem glad to see me! So, it’s always a pleasure,” he said.
O’Brien is currently the longest-serving bishop still in service.
Father Shawn Hughes, rector at St. Mary’s Cathedral, says the local Catholic community is celebrating the occasion in the same way someone might mark a wedding or significant birthday.
“It’s a celebration of an anniversary of a real milestone in his life,” Hughes said. “He became a priest almost 50 years ago.”
Throughout that time, O’Brien has served all over the the country. Since becoming a bishop, he has moved to Ottawa, Pembroke, and even all the way out to St. John’s, Newfoundland, before coming back to the Limestone City.
“For the last 10 years I’ve been back in Ontario, and I am very happy in Kingston,” O’Brien said.
Hughes says the archbishop is a clear leader, maintaining a serene attitude and keeping calm no matter the situation.
“Archbishop O’Brien has that great sense of peace — he’s very down to earth, he loves the people and loves to be among them … and they know that. I think that is key for a shepherd, that he loves them — but they know he loves them, and they love him back,” Hughes noted.
Next year, for his 75th birthday, he will hand in his resignation to the Holy Father — which is the normal protocol at that time.
And though he continues to love the work that he does, watching over all the local parishes and assisting their priests and deacons in any way he can, O’Brien says he’s looking forward to retirement.
“I will be ready in early 2019 to give the responsibility to somebody else,” he said.
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