Canon Eugene Dolan
Photo courtesy of Oldham
Fr. Dolan was born in Aghyaran, County Tyrone and studied for the
priesthood at All Hallows Seminary in Dublin. He was ordained on
17th June 1962, along with forty-three other priests. He enjoyed
eight years in Salford before coming, albeit with some reluctance,
to St. Edward's with the title "Vicarious Co-Adjutor"
(curate) on 10th June 1970. He was appointed parish priest
in the summer of 1974 and in 1995 was appointed one of only ten
Canons in the Salford Diocese. Before Fr. Dolan's arrival,
the parish had been unsettled and in some disarray for many years;
under his stewardship it has developed into a lively and healthy
A continuing feature of Fr. Dolan's ministry is his desire to encourage
everyone to "get involved" whether it is by providing
refreshments after Mass, planning and building a new church, repairing
and refurbishing the old building to provide a parish centre, forming
new parish groups, reading at Mass or supporting any of the varied
activities the parish offers. We are particularly encouraged to
become involved in projects to help the underprivileged, both here
and in the "Third World" (Our Justice & Peace groups
have an enviable record in this respect) and to be aware of what
it means to belong to a Christian community.
|The parish was saddened to learn of the
death of Fr.Dolan's mother in August 2007. A Mass to celebrate the
life of Cissie Dolan was held in St. Edward's Church on 13 September
2007. During the Mass, Fr.Dolan was presented with new communion plate
in memory of his mother.
Artist Takes Inspiration from Priest
Charlie Saul was Headmaster at St. Edward’s Primary School in Oldham for 27 years. He was something of a legend at the school. Throughout his long period of headship ‘Mr Saul’ won the respect and affection of generations of parents and children by his ability to maintain high standards and discipline in the school with a smiling face. His ever changing art work of scenes and lessons from the bible adorned the classrooms and corridors of the school and were a source of colourful inspiration to the children.
Charlie has continued to develop his artistic talent since he retired from St. Edward’s School some years ago. Oldham's new Art Gallery recently mounted a one man exhibition of his paintings titled ‘CLOWNS FOR THE COMMON MAN. It featured paintings that are allegorical in style using the poses of clowns to explore the human condition. This is how Charlie introduced the exhibition: “Far-removed from the circus environment, these images offer a contrast to the buffoon-like qualities often associated with clowns. They reveal humble, vulnerable figures coping with life’s challenges with emotions kept in check beneath expressionless faces. There are times in all our lives when we become clowns, hiding the way we really feel….but all too often the body language gives the game away.”
One of the pictures features our parish priest of 42 years standing Fr. Eugene Dolan. It is an unusual depiction of priesthood and has been an endless source of contemplation and interpretation by visitors to the exhibition not least by his parishioners many of whom assumed a Sr. Wendy mode in talking about the picture. Most people who know Fr. Dolan and his passion for Manchester United fixed on the red and white socks which Lazarus is wearing. Some had difficulty in finding words to convey the precise message of the picture as they understood it but all were awed by the spirit of compassion in it and by the remarkable resemblance of Lazarus to Fr. ‘D’.
In the picture Fr. Dolan is shown sitting in a prison cell on a chair like the one in the sanctuary in St. Edward’s church. His priestly stole, showing the parish emblem of the Cross and Crown, is draped round his neck. He ministers to a troubled soul clad in black who kneels and clings humbly to the leg of the chair, imprisoned in darkness he has come to seek healing. In a posture of deep prayer and empathy Fr. Dolan, having given him the book of the Gospels, the good news of forgiveness, places his hand on the penitents head and communicates to him God’s liberating love. The swallow, sitting on the window ledge, our annual visitor from the tropics who swoops in loops of aerial ballet in our summer skies, is a symbol of freedom. It is poised to fly out through the prison bars, freed like the penitent from the confines of dark imprisonment.
Ever since Fr. Dolan recovered from cancer over ten years ago Charlie has referred to him as Lazarus.
19th. Octobler 2014