A TRUE man of the people, Father Tom Shanahan, has celebrated 60 years since his ordination as a priest with a standing-room-only mass at St Nicholas Catholic Church.
Fr Shanahan was ordained in front of his parents, siblings, their spouses and his nieces and nephews at the same church on a cold July morning in 1956.
"Many things have changed, but the binding is there and the binding is the priesthood of Jesus Christ and I am a very unworthy member," he said.
The parish celebrated the diamond anniversary with a special mass. Fr Shanahan said it was always his vocation to become a priest and he left home at 17 to attend St Columba's Seminary in Springwood. He spent four-and-a-half years in the army and then returned to the Armidale diocese where he has served since. Fr Shanahan is now retired, but still does hospital, nursing home and home visits and is the Tamworth RSL Sub-branch chaplain.
"I just enjoy the involvement with people from all walks of life and through their highs and lows," he said.