AMHERST – When Vernon Driscoll entered the priesthood John F. Kennedy had just assumed the presidency of the United States, Barack Obama was born and Roger Maris eclipsed Babe Ruth by hitting 61 home runs.
Driscoll recently celebrated 50 years of service to the church and community and he has no plans to slow down anytime soon – despite being the oldest active parish priest in the archdiocese.
“I’ve been blessed with tremendous health over the years. As long as I stay healthy I plan to keep doing what I enjoy doing,” the 76-year-old parish priest at Amherst Holy Family Parish said. “There’s still so much work to be done.”
Holy Family held a celebration of Driscoll’s 50 years during a service at the church last month while there was also a celebration with his family and friends in Halifax back in May.
Since he was ordained at St. Joseph’s Church in 1961, Driscoll has served at a number of churches in the Halifax area as well as in Truro before coming to Amherst a dozen years ago to oversee two churches including the former St. Charles and Nativity of Our Lady parishes.
“Things are much different today than they were 50 years ago,” said Driscoll, who wentto the seminary after studying at Saint Mary’s University. “There have been so many changes in society and the church. We’ve lived through some challenging times and it’s something worth celebrating.”
Driscoll said he has enjoyed his time in the priesthood immensely and has never doubted the decision he made in 1999 to fill a vacancy in Amherst. He admitted the Forward in Faith process that resulted in the amalgamation of the town’s two Catholic churches into one parish was challenging at times but he feels it was a success in the construction of a new home for the church and the development of a more cohesive unit.