A Bo’ness priest is today reflecting on the six whole decades that have passed since his ordination back in March 1959.
Friends, clergy, parishioners and guests from the local community gathered earlier this week to mark Rev. Andrew Forrest’s diamond jubilee.
His journey to the priesthood began at the young age of 13 when he entered St Mary’s College at Blairs in Aberdeen, where he spent five years before moving on to the Séminaire St Sulpice in Paris for two years.
Later he spent some time in the Grampian Sanatorium in Kingussie, later moving on to St Andrew’s College at Drygrange in Melrose from 1954 until 1959.
Then he was ordained on March 14 by Archbishop Gordon Gray at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh.
Of his 60 years of priestly service, 24 have been spent serving the Catholic community of Bo’ness in the parish of St Mary of the Assumption.
To spend such an amount of time in a single parish is regarded as an unusual achievement which deserves recognition in its own right.
Father Forrest has built many friendships during his long tenure and is said to be very highly regarded both in the Catholic community and the community at large - recognised by the attendance of individuals including local funeral director Paul Cuthell on Thursday evening.
Speaking during the Mass, Father Forrest gave thanks for his parents, and noted the importance of the priest and laity working alongside one another in a successful parish:
“Basically, what we’re celebrating tonight, is longevity – which I seem to have, and for which I can take no credit!”, he said.
“This is due – under God – to my mum and dad, for the genes they have passed on to me.
“And also, I think a part of that is my gratitude to our parishioners who do so much to take the burden off my shoulders. “This allows me to concentrate on the priestly side of things, and this is what is known as collaborative ministry - priest and people working harmoniously together – the way it should be – and I think we’ve got it here in St Mary’s, Bo’ness.