Father Matt McManus was born in Rutherglen on 22 September 1940 and was ordained a priest in the Good Shepherd Cathedral, Ayr on 3 April 1965. He became Parish Priest of the Church of Saint Peter in Chains on 23 November 2004.

To mark these milestones in his life, a celebration was held on 24 September 2005.

Father Matt celebrated a well-attended Vigil Mass. The altar server was Peter John Walsh. Music was provided by Aimee Taylor on digital piano. Margaret Swiercz and Monica Taylor were the cantors.

Afterwards, refreshments were served in the Parish Centre.

There were a few formalities to mark the occasion.

Father Matt was piped into the Centre, by Andrew Timmons, a visitor from Edinburgh.

George McGrattan made a speech welcoming Father Matt, thanking him for forty years of service to the Church and congratulating him on reaching his sixty-fifth birthday.

On behalf of the parishioners, Mary Brown and Julia Paterson presented Father Matt with a cheque as shown in the picture.

Father Stephen Sharkey, Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Church, Lockerbie delivered a humorous address in which he gave an insight to Father Matt's ministry and personality.

Father Matt thanked the large gathering of people who enjoyed the rest of the evening socialising.

Margaret Swiercz proposed a vote of thanks and welcomed Marie Lindsay, Father Matt's houskeeper to the Parish.

More photographs of the celebration may be viewed from the Pictures page.

The well-wishers who attended the celebration included:
  Margaret Adamson
  Alfie and Evelyne Agostini
  Billy and Celia Andrew
  Sister Annette
  Josephine Atkins
  Jaques and Marian Beleveret
  Moira Bingham
  Rose Bowers
  Father Willie Boyd
  Jim and Sheila Boyle
  Sadie Boyle
  Benet and Elsie Brodie
  Benet, Karen, Paul and Jane Brodie
  Don and Helen ( -2013) Brown
  Gerry and Janet Brown
  Mary Brown
  Betty Burns
  Ronnie and Marie Cairns
  Anne Calvert
  Anne Clarke
  Patricia Connor
  Anna Conway
  Robert and Rosina Cooper
  Frank and Doris Coulter
  Gerard, Sheila, Lucy and Patricia Coulter
  Jean Coulter
  Tommy (1957-2010) and Esther Coulter
  Frances Crawford
  James Crichton
  Marlene Crichton
  Mary Cunningham
  Lillian Devine
  K Donahoe
  Jim and Cathie Donnelly
  Matt and Moira Donnelly
  Sheila Douglas
  Peggie Duffy
  Drew Duncan, Provost of North Ayrshire and his wife Rosemary
  Willie, Anne and Michelle Duncan
  Kate Dunn
  Flora Dynes
  Alison Erskine
  June Farrell
  Angelo Farro
  Natalina Farro
  Gavin and Margaret Finnegan
  Peter and Catherine Finnigan
  Wendy and Niamh Fisher
  Father Eamonn Flynn
  Joan Forsyth
  Tom, Catherine and Geraldine Gallagher
  Douglas and Carole Gee
  Billy and Liz Giffney
  Leslie Gordon
  Phyllis Gribben
  Lorna Hamilton
  Anne Harrison
  John Harrison
  Anne Higgins
  J and R Higgins
  George and Maria Hilferty
  Addie Hissey
  Bill and Anne Holden
  Maisie Hough
  Aidan Hughes
  Andrena Hughes
  Annie Johnston
  Marion Kelly
  Maureen Kelly
  John and Anne Kennedy
  Phyllis Kennedy
  Father Gabriel Kigozi
  Father John Kinsler
  Ian and Angela Kirkpatrick
  Veronica Lewis
  Maria, Sarah and Katie Lind
  Marie Lindsay, Father Matt's housekeeper
  Margaret Logan
  F and A Lundie
  Harry and Elizabeth Lundie
  Stephen and Margaret Lynn
  Jack Madine
  Cath Mair
  Nan Maloney
  Sister Marian
  Agnes Martin
  Millie McCann
  Tommy and Eileen McCann
  Mary McCormack
  Ian and Anne McCormick
  Elizabeth McCrae
  Michael McCulloch
  Kathleen McEvoy
  Pamela McGlynn
  Janey and Henrietta McGonigle
  Alice McGrattan
  George and Anne McGrattan
  Tom and Greta McGreevy
  Frances McInnes
  Amy McLaughlin
  Erin McLaughlin
  Father Matt McManus
  Tony and Julie McManus, Father Matt's brother and neice
  Michael and Catherine McManus, Father Matt's brother and sister in law
  Peter McNamara
  Pam McNeill
  Oonagh McVeigh (1928-2011)
  Patricia McVeigh
  Michelle Millar
  Patricia Milligan
  Robert and Annie Montgomery
  Nora Moore
  Cecilia and Sarah Morman
  Margaret Mullen
  David and Margaret Munn
  Piero and Avril Narducci
  Susan Neil
  Betty Northcote
  Julia Paterson
  Josephine Peppard
  Liz Petrie
  George Poole
  Alan and Gertie Priestly
  Jim Prior
  Canon Denis Quinlan
  Cathie Quinn
  Marian Quinn
  Marion Quinn
  Peter Reilly
  Jean Robertson
  Susanna Ross
  Catherine Russell
  Harry, Myriame and Michael Sammons
  Father Stephen Sharkey
  Elaine Shaw
  Sadie Sloss
  Allan, Sharon and Eric Smith
  Calvin Smith
  Robert and Veronica Stevenson
  Mamie Stewart
  Margaret Sweeney
  Margaret Swiercz who baked the birthday cake
  Bob, Pauline and Aimee Taylor
  Monica Taylor
  Sam Taylor
  Annie Thompson
  Andrew Timmons who played the bagpipes
  Mary Timmons (1916-2011)
  Peter Timmons
  William and Rotha Timpany
  Brian Towie
  Joan Usher
  Sheena Walker
  Bernard and Sheena Walsh
  John, Helen, Peter John, Mary, Sarah and Cecilia Walsh
  Jim and Annie Watt
  Bert and Jean White

If you know of anyone else who should be included in the above list, please contact WebsiteAuthor@SaintPeterInChains.net.

The Management Committee of the Parish Centre has asked me to make a short address on this happy occasion and I am pleased and privileged to do so. We are here to celebrate three things - firstly, a belated welcome to Father Matt from the parishioners of Saint Peter's; secondly, forty years of Father Matt's priesthood and thirdly sixty-five years of his life.

This is an informal occasion with the emphasis on a community gathering and socialising with each other. There will, however, be a few minor formalities. We will sing 'Happy Birthday'. We will make a presentation to Father Matt. Father Stephen Sharkey from Holy Trinity Church, Lockerbie will make a speech to give us some insight to our parish priest. I suspect that Father Matt will say a few words too - perhaps even a lot of words - because one of his gifts is eloquence. For the most part, the emphasis is on enjoying yourselves and having a blether with folk especially those you haven't seen for a while.

When Father Lynch died in July 2004, there was deep sadness and emptiness in our parish. Because Father Lynch had set up so many groups and good practices, the parish was able to function for nearly five months with the support of visiting priests. Regardless of how committed parishioners are, we need the stability of a permanent priest.

On Saturday 27 November 2004, at 5 30 pm, in the Church of Saint Peter in Chains, the music started for the entry hymn. The altar servers processed to the sanctuary followed by Father Matt. The hymn ended with the congregation eagerly anticipating our new parish priest's introductory remarks. His first words were "Are you happy to see me?". I remember thinking "That's a risky question. What if they say no?". The parishioners, however, replied with a sincere 'yes' which Father Matt answered with "Well, I'm happy to see you, too." and the mutual affection has continued since.

For the first few months, as Father Matt processed to the sanctuary for Mass, I remember being aware on each occasion that we had a new priest - a new priest. I think that it was around February when I was conscious of the fact that, with each service, I was losing the notion of regarding Father Matt as our new priest - rather I simply thought of him as our priest. This was obviously because Father Matt was performing the multiple roles of leading us, integrating with us and, in a sense, becoming one of us.

There are two ways to look at tonight's gathering. On the one hand it could be regarded as surprising that we are sharing in Father Matt's double celebration because he has only been with us for ten months; on the other hand it is a tribute to the sincerity, warmth and good nature with which he has embraced his new parish that so many people want to be here with him even though he was only been with us for less than a year.

I ask you, therefore, Reverend Fathers, Ladies and Gentlemen to join with me in welcoming Father Matt as our Parish Priest, thanking him for his forty years of service to the Church and congratulating him on becoming a senior citizen.

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