The day dawned brightly as parishioners gathered at St. Mary’s Church in Nairn to take part in the final mass celebrated by Fr Barnett as Parish Priest. There was a buzz of expectation in the packed church as so often accompanies a special occasion.
A joyful mass followed with the young members of the church participating throughout. They did the readings and bidding prayers, reading brilliantly, with excellent clarity and zeal, the collection, and took down the gifts in the offertory procession.
Father Barnett followed his homily on the readings of the day, with a brief history of his time in the Priesthood, taking us from the South of England, through Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh to the Islands of Scotland. He was Baptised, made his First Holy Communion, was Ordained priest at Holy Cross Church in Glasgow, and then was for a time a priest there. He taught for many years as a Jesuit and has worked in many countries. He taught for a time at St Aloysius School in his native Glasgow. He is now retiring after almost 19 years in Nairn.
The hymns for today’s mass were chosen with the children in mind, and were accompanied by Iain Gordon on the guitar, with the final hymn, a rousing rendition of ‘Tell out my Soul’ a hymn based on Luke 1: 46-55, the Magnificat (one of Fr. Barnett’s favourite hymns) played by Rupert on the organ.
Before the last hymn Fr. Barnett thanked everyone for their good wishes and the kind gifts he had received at the Open Evening on Friday night. Emotion crept in and there was a slight tremor in his voice at this stage. Then Evelyn Hunter was thanked for all the work she has done in the Church for many years as sacristan and for arranging readers and Eucharistic Ministers for the weekday Masses. Evelyn has also been a great source of information about many things that have happened over the years at St Mary’s Nairn. She was then presented with a bouquet of flowers by one of the parishioners.
After Mass Fr Barnett stood outside, speaking with the many parishioners gathered around to give him their best wishes. He then joined the people who had gone to the hall for tea and coffee.
Fr Barnett will be greatly missed by many. We have been very much blessed in having him as our parish priest for almost 19 years. We wish him a long and happy retirement and may God grant him many graces and blessings in the years to come.