CathNews editor celebrates 50 years of priesthood

CathNews editor, Fr Denis O’Hagan SM, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination this last weekend.

At a social occasion on Saturday night, Denis O’Hagan said he didn’t remember much of his ordination day.

One thing he however remembered was his cousin, at one point an undertaker, saying, “Just let me know if you need a hand at any time”.

The former leader of the Society of Mary in New Zealand, Denis O’Hagan was CathNews’ inaugural editor.

As well as continuing to write at CathNews, he also works as chair of the LOGOS Marist Youth Development Organisation and volunteers at the Compassion Soup Kitchen.

People at the gathering spoke warmly of Denis O’Hagan’s various ministries as a secondary school teacher, college rector, school chaplain, parish priest, Marist administrator and leader, retreat house director and editor.

One such is the Society of Mary’s recently elected new leader, Fr Tim Duckworth.

“By the time I finish as Provincial, if I can be half as kind and compassionate, I will be happy”, Duckworth told the gathering.

Duckworth said as Provincial Denis O’Hagan walked the talk.

“Denis’ compassion and kindness made a big change in our group.

“We became wiser, more gentle and caring of each other”, Duckworth said.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Michael O’Hagan described his younger brother as a wonderful friend, brother and inspirer of people.

Having officiated at family weddings and funerals, Michael O’Hagan said people value that Denis “speaks the truth, not the doctrine, and is guided by what is right rather than the rule”.

Michael O’Hagan said his brother is very familiar with the ‘beyond world’ but with his feet firmly on the ground.

He described him as a bridge between them both.

On Sunday people joined Denis O’Hagan at Mass in Newtown where for many years he had been a parishioner and visiting priest.

A keen proponent of taking the Church to public spaces, Denis O’Hagan recently stood down as editor of CathNews and announced he plans to retire from the pressure of writing the twice-weekly New Zealand publication.

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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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