Archbishop Tartaglia, Archbishop Emeritus Conti, Bishop Emeritus Taylor and priests from the Archdiocese joined family and friends of Mgr. Sheridan – some from his time in Valladolid and others from the Scouting movement – at Nazareth House on 19 March to celebrate his Diamond Jubilee Mass. It was a lovely, warm occasion, with musical support provided by the Archdiocesan Choir. Additional music was provided by Dr. Noel Donnelly on harp.
Mgr. Sheridan spoke after the Gospel, reflecting on his 60 years of priesthood. His first thoughts of a vocation were nurtured in Clydebank in a community setting where it was viewed as the greatest gift to have a child enter the priesthood or the religious life. However, the Lord had led him a merry dance, as he put it, in following those first inclinations, beginning with the destruction of the family home in the Clydebank Blitz which necessitated the first of a number of moves and interruptions to his education.
However he eventually ended up in the Scots College in Valladolid which had just been re-opened after the Civil War. Among his fellow students was the Late Bishop Ian Murray with whom he became great friends and later teachers together on the staff of the College. His ordination took place on St. Patrick’s Day 1956.
On returning to Scotland and working in parishes in the poorer areas of Glasgow he identified the need to give children something to do which would identify and develop their gifts. He had previously trained as a Scout leader before entering the Seminary and he now started an involvement with the Scouting movement which was to last for decades, including becoming the National Chaplain in Scotland for 22 years. His obvious joy in working with young people showed.
He also reflected on the various jobs he had been asked to undertake during his ministry, many of which had not been his choice but he had relied on the grace of God to do them well. (One of them had borne interesting fruit when he was asked by a family in Spain to help their son learn English and the boy, now a professor of thermodynamics, was present with his family for the celebration).
The final part of his ministry is now being carried out in Nazareth House where he is enjoying being with older people, hearing their stories. He ended with thanks to all at Nazareth House for their care for him and the other residents.
At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Tartaglia presented Mgr. Sheridan with a framed Papal Blessing. Everyone was then invited to enjoy the hospitality of the Sisters at a buffet lunch and have time to chat.