When speaking with Father Anthony Bluett, you will know that he is a man of absolute faith. “It was His call,” Father Bluett said of God’s beckoning him to become a priest. “That was what the good Lord wanted.” That was 50 years ago, in Limerick, Ireland.
As one of eight children, five of whom became priests, Father Bluett attended Our Lady Queen of Peace. The influence of the Lord was everywhere. The call to serve God was hardwired into him from those who surrounded him. “It was something deep within you that you felt,” he said. Putting it into words was difficult, other than “it was an internal call to serve the Lord and to serve others.”
Born in 1945 and ordained as a priest in 1969, Father Bluett studied religion at St. Patrick College in Thurles, which led him to the United States to earn his master’s degree in religious education in Miami. Once assigned to the Diocese of Orlando, Father Bluett served as an associate pastor at St. Mary Parish in Rockledge and Blessed Trinity Parish in Orlando. Other churches included serving as a pastor at St. Joseph Church in Palm Bay, St. Joseph Parish in Winter Haven, and St. Luke Parish in Barefoot Bay. After various accomplishments, Father Bluett eventually retired as pastor from Holy Spirit Parish in Lake Wales.
His motivation as a priest, even in his retirement, comes from pure enjoyment of the vocation. “The people you meet along the way, they made you feel worthwhile.” As much as parishioners needed him to continue their faith, Father Bluett equally enjoyed them, as well. “I wouldn’t have survived without them,” he said of his fellow Catholics. “From the rich to the poor, they made me feel good.”
When Father Bluett isn’t listening to classical music, attending plays, or reading books from St. John Vianney, he gives advice to other men who may be interested in becoming priests. “It’s a good life. It can be very fulfilling and rewarding. There is always lots of support.” His favorite quote from the Book of Matthew (Mt 20:28) provides this obligation and purpose for a future priest that will follow in the footsteps of Christ: “Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
By Jean Gonzalez and Maurice Beaulieu of the Florida Catholic – March 2019
Chrism Mass – April 17, 2019
Bishop Noonan invites all the faithful to join the celebration of the Chrism Mass on April 17, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. The Mass will be livestreamed via Facebook Live (https://www.facebook.com/orlandodiocese/) and http://live.orlandodiocese.org/. During the Mass, Bishop Noonan will consecrate the holy oils used in Sacraments and other celebrations during the year, priests will renew their priestly commitment and jubilarian priests celebrating 25 and 50 years anniversaries of Ordination will be honored.