In a most memorable tribute to one who has dedicated his life to the service of God and His children, more than 800 people paid tribute to Father Ted Colleton on the occasion of his 50th Anniversary as a priest.
Following a Mass, attended by 500 people. Business for Life organized a banquet which saw more than 800 of those whose lives had been touched by Father Colleton, rise to show their respect and love.
During the banquet, tributes were outpouring from Business for Life, the clergy, Knights of Columbus, the Irish Board of Tourism and Campaign Life Coalition.
However, none was more profound than the earlier testimony to Father Colleton’s life as a priest, a missionary, a humorist, a pro-life activist, a prisoner and a child of God as the reading at the Mass of Father’s own words.
“Looking back down the arches of the years, perhaps because I have been gifted with an optimistic temperament, I tend to see the sunshine rather than the clouds. There has been plenty of sunshine but the clouds have been there too; the clouds of disappointment, sometimes in myself, sometimes in others. The Church has always been the centre of my life. But I learned early on to distinguish between the Church as the Church of Christ and the human elements through which the Church reaches the souls of people and to always see the glorious Figure of the Risen Christ behind the Peters and the Judases whose shadows never cease to hover over the ecclesiastical scene.
“On June 23, 1990, I celebrated 50 years as a priest. It has been a great life full of action and excitement, triumphs and failures, laughter and tears, sunshine and shadows. But I cannot think of any aspect of it which I would substantially change – and certainly not my Priesthood. For half a century I have daily ‘stood at the altar of God’ and offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, raised my hand in absolution over more repentant sinners than I could ever count, poured the waters of Baptism over the heads of babies without number, preached the Gospel in Ireland, England, Africa, the United States and Canada and anointed the foreheads of those who were within minutes of meeting God face to face. And through the teaching of the Church, I know that, in spite of my unworthiness, all these actions were not only valid but fruitful. And although I was only the instrument of the Church, it is consoling to realize in the evening of life that I was chosen to be such an instrument.
“In this period of Church history, when the glory of the priesthood has been somewhat overshadowed by the clouds of scandal and doubt, I want to affirm this fact: if I had another life to live – I’D DO IT AGAIN!”