This Saturday all of us in Kildare and Leighlin Diocese and particulary Clongowes Wood College and the wider Clane parish area celebrates the Beatification of Blessed Elect John Sullivan in Gardiners Street Church, Dublin at 11am. Sadly due to confirmation commitments in Graiguecullen at 11am and Killeshin at 2pm I am unable to attend myself the ceremony of beatification.

John Sullivan was known for his compassion for those who were sick and suffering and is remembered for his dedication to visit as many of these people as he could, often late at night on his bicycle. It was indeed his own sense of deep personal prayer that led to him being an instrument of healing and mercy for so many.

John Sullivan is held up for us all now as a heroic example of virtue, goodness and holiness.

John Sullivan’s fellow Jesuit, Fergal McGrath, summed up his pastoral outreach with the splendid comment “The apostolate of the poor, the suffering and the afflicted never flagged during thirty years. Father Sullivan was a great walker, and his figure was a familiar one on the roads around Clongowes”.

The devotion most associated with John Sullivan centres on being blessed with his Cross.  He was not a medical expert or a faith healer, but he was a man whom through his own sense of prayer and holiness, could transmit the healing power of Jesus Christ.

John Sullivan was truly an instrument of the mercy of God and it is by his example all of us should strive for holiness.

I commend everyone in Clongowes Wood College, the people of Clane parish and wider area for their dedication to their former teacher, the respect they have for him and the devotion shown to the Cross and to his memory.

I very much look forward to celebrating Mass with everyone in Clongowes Wood College on Saturday the 20th of May at 7pm. John Sullivan will be beatified by then and in many respects it will be a homecoming of sorts for him as our Mass of Thanksgiving for his beatification takes place in Clongowes Wood College, a place that was familiar to him for such a large part of his life.

+Denis Nulty
Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin