Canon Joe Celebrates 40 years of Priestly Ministry

A huge crowd gathered in Ballyagran Hall on Saturday June 8th to join with Canon Joe Shire Parish Priest of Rockhill/Bruree and Castletown/Ballyagran/Colmanswell in celebrating the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Prior to the beginning of Mass, MC for the evening, John Twomey welcomed all present to the celebration and introduced the Concelebrants Bishop Brendan Leahy, Canon Willie Fitzmaurice, Fr David Gibson, Fr David Casey, Fr Tim O Connor and Fr Michael Wall. The Mass and celebrations were also attended by many members of Canon Joe’s family.
The choir on the night was provided by singers and musicians from both parishes who came together for the celebration and spent many nights practicing so that everything was perfect on the night.
Canon Joe, as all his friends know him was born Joseph Benedict Shire in Drehidtarsna Adare in June 1955, the eldest of six children. He began his education in the Primary School in Adare and continued his education at St Munchin’s College where he attended from 1968 to 1973. He then went on to attend at Maynooth Seminary from 1973 to 1979. He was ordained in Adare on June 10th 1979 and celebrated his first mass in Adare on the following day.
As a young priest, Canon Joe’s first appointment was to Loughill in County Limerick as C.C in September 1979 where he served until August 1986, when he was appointed C.C., Abbeyfeale and Director of C.M.A.C. Newcastle West. In April 1988 he was appointed C.C., Our Lady Queen of Peace and in September 1992 he was also appointed as Diocesan Priest Director of C.M.A.C. March 1998 saw Canon Joe move to Our Lady of the Rosary as C.C. and in September 2002 he was given additional responsibility when he was appointed Chaplin to the Travelling Community.
September 2004 brought more responsibilities for Canon Joe, when he was appointed as Parish Priest for Ballyagran-Colmanswell. In September of 2014 he was appointed Parish Priest of Kilmallock, while continuing as P.P. of Ballyagran-Colmanswell and acting as moderator for the Parish Team. September 2015 brought additional responsibility as Administrator of Bulgaden-Martinstown and Effin-Garrienderk Parish. In September 2015 he was appointed as Canon of the Prebendary of Croagh and in October 2018 he became Moderator of the Pastoral Unit of the Parishes of Ballyagran-Colmanswell and Rockhill-Bruree.
Canon Shire addressed all present before the conclusion of Mass and thanked all involved in the preparations and on the thoughtfulness of the gifts he received. Canon Joe said he was delighted with the celebration, and he was especially delighted to be joined by Bishop Brendan Leahy, and his friends in the celebration. He also reflected on his yearly years as a young priest and remembered fondly being involved when Pope John Paul II visited Limerick shortly after his ordination in 1979
When Mass concluded, two presentations were made on behalf of the parishes and following this all present were invited to the local Parish Hall in Ballyagran to continue the celebrations. A large cake was available in the Hall for the ceremonial cutting as well as a plentiful supply of refreshments which were served to all those present in the hall.
The night of celebration had been arranged by a group of parishioners from the parishes which Canon Joe administrates. The large crowd that attended was a great testament to the level of esteem in which Canon Joe is held and his popularity among the people of his parishes.