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Father Paul's Retirement Party

16 November 2019


Dear Father Paul   (to the tune of ‘The Servant King) 

sung by the pupils of St Josephs Primary

To Stanford-le-Hope you came

To our parish and our school

To welcome us and to pray

And guide us all to live God’s way

You are our friend, our parish priest

We gather now in love and peace

To thank you for everything and all -

All that you are, dear Father Paul.


There in the church, every day

Our school Masses, you’d celebrate

Inspiring, your homilies were

They helped us understand God’s word

You are our friend, our parish priest

We gather now in love and peace

To thank you for everything and all -

All that you are, dear Father Paul.


Such a support to our school

And also to our head, Miss Saul

All of our lives you have touched

You must know, you’ll be missed much

You are our friend, our parish priest

We gather now in love and peace

To thank you for everything and all -

All that you are, dear Father Paul.


Now we must bid you farewell

But in our hearts, you’ll ever dwell

You’ll be remembered always;

Your sense of humour, your smiling face

You are our friend, our parish priest

We gather now in love and peace

To thank you for everything and all -

All that you are, dear Father Paul

Click here to listen to the children singing



Song for Father Paul by George Cluer


 Father Paul we cannot let you leave us without a song so I have set down with my pen and song book and prayed that the words would come along so that we can write you a song.

We are very grateful that you have been our Parish Priest, and may I say a true and faithful friend. We are sorry that you are leaving us. May God go with you and guard you on your way. We know that with God’s blessing we will meet again, so this friendship will never end.

We would all like to say a big thank you for all the help and support that you have given to the parishes of Tilbury and Stanford Le Hope Father Paul. You have made the churches of the parishes a better place for all.

Now that your Journey with us is coming to an end, what an amazing journey it has been. How can one find the words to say goodbye? We will not even try. We will just say God bless, Father Paul, and this is said by all.

Now that we are coming to the end of your song, it’s time for us to find the last words for your song to sing. Let us sing the words you say….

“You pray for me and I will pray for thee, yes, you pray for me and I will pray for thee”

Tilb1  children

Just some of the guests. Photos by Noah Dynan, Father Paul's grandson 

Please pass on any other photos



Kevin Redmond’s thank you to Father Paul on behalf of the parish which he read at the 11am Mass on 27th October 2019
On Saturday 16th November there is to be a party to mark Father Paul’s retirement.   Parishioners from here in Stanford and from Tilbury will be joining together in St. Joseph’s Hall to celebrate Father Paul’s contribution to the life and work of these two entirely independent parishes.   There will be more detail in next week’s newsletter.

 • But I have been asked to talk about Father Paul today on the occasion of his last 11.00 Mass in our Parish Church. 

• Father Paul is now into his tenth year as our Parish Priest, and is therefore the third longest serving priest in this parish, and I believe is also third longest serving priest in Tilbury’s 100 years in the Diocese of Brentwood.   A proud record!   But I do not wish to concentrate on the quantity of his service to us all, which is considerable, so much as the quality of that service.   Where do we start?

 • Commitment : If you have ever seen Father Paul’s diary, you will begin to understand the sheer range of activities in which he is engaged on our behalf.   Apart from this particular Mass and the 5.30 later today, there are all the daily Masses, and then there are people to be visited at home, in hospital and in care and nursing homes.   There are all of the parish organisations to support, and those of the diocese and the deanery, and of course those strange, fairy-like people who attend after Sunday Mass for family Christenings, dazzling us with their finery and then often disappearing into the void. St.Joseph’s School, weddings and funerals, our Parish Priest is always there, once even deputising for the Bishop in a service of confirmation.  Father Paul has led regular pilgrimages to Aylesford and Walsingham, and further afield to The Holy Land (twice) and Rome.   And of course the work we see at first hand is effectively doubled when we realise he performs similar work in Our Lady Star of the Sea, Tilbury.   And how careful Father Paul has been to divide his time equally between the two parishes! 

• Sense of Family : It is unusual to have a Catholic Parish Priest who has children and now grandchildren of his own.   And how we have all gained from this.   Who will ever forget Father Paul talking with the little ones after the Children’s Liturgy when they report back on what they have learned that day, or his interaction with those preparing for their First Holy Communion.   In all of this, our Parish Priest is gentle, encouraging and, yes, gifted.   We are watching and listening to an experienced parent and grandfather, who knows how to make children feel at ease.   Amongst the sadness of Father Paul’s retirement is the reflection that he will now be able to spend more time with his own, loving family.

 • Humour :  It’s never far away, is it.   My favourite comment: when Father Paul first introduced us to Father David, stood alongside him and announced ‘Well, that’s the long and the short of it.’ And so many jokes and funny stories mixed in with his homilies.   I particularly like the one about the Parish Priest who rings his Bishop in a panic.   ‘I’ve just seen Christ walking towards the Church.  What should I do?’   ‘Look busy’ says the Bishop.

 • Erudition : When Father Paul delivers a homily it is often underpinned by an impressive range of literary, historical and theological sources.   And we are all taken on a tour of classical languages and, of course, Father Paul’s favourite : Aramaic.    And all of this material closely referenced to the themes of that particular Mass.   I am reminded of a couplet from The Village Schoolmaster, by Oliver Goldsmith : ‘And still they gazed and still the wonder grew/ That one small head could carry all he knew.

’ • Courage : During his tenure, Father Paul has had many bouts of serious illness.   Yet he has faced them all without self-pity.   He has maintained a positive attitude throughout and his fortitude is frankly inspiring.   If we need to look for the way to deal with hardship, we should follow his example.

 • And finally, Kindness : Father Paul’s kindly manner is best evidenced by the knot of people who gather around him after every Mass, everyone eager to share their lives and to spend time in his company.   Felicity and I experienced family tragedy some years ago and Father Paul was a lifeline for us.   And I know that many of you here have similar memories of particular acts of kindness shown to you over the past 10 years. Father, you have given us so much, you have enhanced the quality of life in this parish, you have befriended and inspired us, encouraged and supported us, taken care of us and valued us.   And your last gift to us is a collection of all the memories we hold of your loving service during your many years in our parish. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls : Father Paul.


Wishing you a fond farewell Father Paul 

Fantastic News - Saturday 23rd May 2020:
Thurrock Clergymen receive Freedom of the Borough Award

Three clergymen have been recognised with the council's highest honour, the Freedom of The Borough Award.

Reverend John Guest, Canon Brian O’Shea and Father Paul Dynan have been awarded the prestigious Freedom of the Borough, a rare honour which has only been presented five times in nearly 40 years, for their outstanding contribution to Thurrock.

The tribute comes after Reverend Guest and Canon O’Shea retire from their roles. Sadly Father Dynan passed away very recently but was made aware of the honour by Councillor Martin Kerin shortly before he died.

All three men graciously served across the borough including St Margaret’s Church and Our Lady and St Joseph in Stanford-le-Hope, St Thomas of Canterbury in Grays and Our Lady Star of the Sea in Tilbury.

Thurrock Mayor, Councillor Terry Piccolo, will present the awards to Reverend Guest, Canon O’Shea and the family of the late Father Dynan at a formal ceremony later in the year, with all being sent a letter from the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Sue Shinnick, informing them of this recognition.

Councillor Piccolo said: “I am delighted that Reverend Guest, Canon O’Shea and the late Father Dynan have all been recognised for the hard work and dedication that they have put into serving Thurrock and its residents.

“The Freedom of the Borough is an honour held in the highest esteem, and is bestowed to individuals so we can publicly recognise their invaluable contributions to our borough’s civic and pastoral community.

“My heartfelt congratulations to you and your families. I offer my deepest condolences to Father Dynan’s family, friends and all those who knew him. I hope that this recognition of the role he played in our community offers some comfort at this time.”

Deputy Mayor of Thurrock Council, Councillor Sue Shinnick, added: “I also extend my congratulations to Reverend Guest, Canon O’Shea and the late Father Dynan.

“This is a fitting tribute to all three clergymen who have had a notable and lasting impact on the Thurrock residents they have supported over many years. They deserve to be recognised for their efforts and we offer this award as a token of our gratitude.”