Father Ennis’ Farewell

How could Holy Family Parish in Orlando possibly wrap up Father Ennis’ many years as a priest and pastor? On Oct. 9, Sister Dorothy, the faculty, and all the students of Holy Family Catholic School planned a tribute for him.

Early Friday morning a beautiful Mass was celebrated in his honor. Father’s homily on God’s love for his children was a reminder of how he also mirrors that love to the children of Holy Family Parish. At the end of Mass a bagpiper walked down the aisle to lead him and all the students to the next event. As the melody of the bagpipes echoes in the air, students and teachers wound their way to the gym.

To begin the farewell extravaganza, Father Ennis, as the guest of honor, sat in a beautifully decorated, exquisite throne. The event started with 6th graders singing Ireland’s National Anthem, “A Soldier’s Song.” The pre-k and kindergarten sang adorable Irish songs about leprechauns. First, second, and third graders serenaded Father with more Irish melodies. One of our students even danced an elegant ballet to a sweet Irish lullaby. Father Ennis teared up when fourth and fifth graders sang two Irish folk ballads.

The Spanish department presented a cultural presentation about some places Father Ennis could visit, since he is now retired. A student violinist played a beautiful rendition of, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The tempo picked up when two Irish dancers performed a toe-tapping, high stepping performance. They were followed by a lovely seventh grade soloist who sang a very touching song. Two eighth graders followed by reading a heart-warming poem written just for Father.

Sister Dorothy presented Father Ennis with several of his favorite gifts: letters written from students compiled in a book, a box full of his favorite candies and another box full of shortbread cookies.

Now, how do you wrap up a spectacular event like that? With a special performance from the Class of 2016, of course! Eighth graders sang an old Irish folk song about coming to America, followed by a skit telling the story of Holy Family Catholic School with a twist of humor.

Many people felt happiness during this celebration for Father Ennis, but many are heartbroken at the thought of our beloved pastor leaving. Father Ennis baptized many of the students at Holy Family Parish. Nobody thought he would ever leave, but as someone once said, “You must let go, before you can move on.”

So, Father Ennis, no matter how far you go away from Holy Family, we will never forget your Masses, homilies, teachings, or your love.

Article written by Kate and Emma, students at Holy Family Catholic School, Orlando