I usually return to Newbridge at least once a year to visit family and close friends.
“Like a lot of young men, I had thought off and on about becoming a priest and then put the idea out of my head. One time, a priest came around to our secondary school to give a talk about vocations and told us to sign up if we were interested in becoming a priest. I actually signed up. In fact, I was the only one who signed up. I thought there’d be more. A week later, the priest came back and the headmaster came to me and said, ‘Tommy Conway, you’re interested in becoming a priest. The priest outside would like to talk to you.’ Of course everybody laughed because I was like the wild guy in the crew and so, when I went outside, I told the priest that somebody else must have written down my name. I didn’t do it. He said, ‘Okay, no problem. If you ever change your mind, contact us.’ I credit my cousin, Father Paddy Mockler, with influencing my decision to pursue the priesthood. “He asked me if I ever thought about becoming a priest and I told him I had thought about it. “Well, I enrolled at St. Patrick’s and everything fell in place for me. Things just happened. I would definitely say the hand of God was in it. It was a calling because everything just went into sync for me. It was a great fit for me and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.”
I have been a priest for 29 years! I enjoy being with people and having the opportunity to minister to them in good times, such as weddings, baptisms, confirmations, and first communions, as well in difficult and challenging times, such as when a death occurs.
I came to the diocese of Biloxi in 1986 after studying at St. Patrick’s College in Carlow, Ireland. I was ordained by Bishop Howze at St. Patrick’s Church on July 27, 1986 and celebrated my first Mass on July 28, 1986.
My first assignment was as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Hattiesburg, where I served from 1986 to 1990. In 1990, I became associate pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Gulfport before being named pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Columbia and St. Paul the Apostle Mission in Tylertown in December 1994. I was pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas from 2000 to 2013. I was appointed pastor of St. Fabian in January 2014.
In my spare time, I like to play racquetball, pray, go jet skiing, and bicycle riding. I also am a big Southern Miss fan and try to attend as many sports events as possible.
My favorite prayer is The Prayer of St. Francis and this is also how I make every effort to live my life and vocation!
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.