Fr. Johnston cuts his anniversary cake, surrounded by his fellow priests and Bishop Paul Dempsey who joined with parishioners to celebrate his 50 years in the priesthood with Mass in the parish church, followed by a community party in the local sports complex. Photo from Bishop Dempsey's twitter page.

Fr. Tommy Johnston celebrates 50 years service to priesthood

A BIG community celebration took place in Charlestown last evening to mark the 50th anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Tommy Johnston.

Fr. Tommy was ordained to the priesthood on June 18, 1972, and has served in the Charlestown parish since 2003.

As well as ministering in parishes in the Diocese of Achonry, he also spent 13 years teaching in St. Nathy's College, Ballaghaderreen.

The parish church was full to capacity as parishioners, family, friends, Bishop Paul Dempsey and his fellow priests joined together to celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving for his 50 years of devoted service.

A humble man, Fr. Tommy's time in the priesthood has been marked by his humility, his deep faith and great kindness.

Bishop Dempsey commented how many things have changed in the 50 years since Fr. Tommy's ordination, but others haven't, like his strong faith and his huge commitment to his priesthood and the huge generosity he continues to show.

Also this past week, his colleague in the parish, Fr. John Doherty, celebrated the 63rd anniversary of his ordination, with Bishop Dempsey noting how the 'A Team' have given a combined 113 years service to the church.