Thursday, 21 July 2016

Ordinations 2016

When you visit a hotel at this time of year, especially at weekends, you are likely to come on a wedding reception. Or, by a very remote chance, you may come on a celebration of a different, though equally joyful kind, i.e. an evening reception for a priest ordained earlier that day. Ordinations, frequent in the past, are a rare occurrence today, leaving parishioners less and less likely to witness a ceremony that is as solemn, moving and, of course, happy as a wedding. We had the privilege of experiencing what it is to have an ordination in our parishes when Seamus McEntee was ordained on 3 June 2014 in the Pro-Cathedral (see here for a report of the ordination -- the only one for Dublin that year -- and  here for some photos taken after Fr Seamus's Mass of Thanksgiving in Rathcoole, Saturday 7th June).

Nine students who had studied in Maynooth (or done part of their studies there before going to Rome for theology) were ordained for their various dioceses or religious orders during June and July. The photo below shows two of them, Conor McGee (diocese of Meath) and Jaimie Twohig (Pallottine community or SAC, Society of the Catholic Apostolate -- see the website here for Shankill parish which they have charge of). It was taken at a reception in the Clayton Hotel, Cork, following Fr Jaimie's ordination on Saturday 16th July in St Joseph's Church, Little Island. Fr Conor's ordination took place on Sunday 19th June in Tullamore (see here for a report and photo). Also in the photo is Donal McMahon (of this parish), who accompanied Conor and Jaimie for part of their studies in Maynooth.

There were no ordinations to the priesthood for the Dublin diocese this year; there were eight ordinations to the diaconate (on the 4th June -- see Archbishop Martin's homily here). But ordinations to the religious life certainly hit the headlines: on Saturday 9th July in this, the 800th year since the order's foundation, eight Dominicans were ordained priests in St Saviour's Church, Dublin (read a report here).

Feel free to visit Maynooth College over the summer. In the cloisters of St Patrick's House, on the west side of the main quadrangle, you will see photos, ordination year by ordination year, of students going back to the early decades of the 20th century. Though we may not attend many ordinations these days and though very few of us have (as formerly quite a few had) a priest in the family, still we are all very likely, at least, to have a priest in our family tree. Look out for him, then, in his class photo.

Finally, I'm reminded of the poem Gerard Manley Hopkins (buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin) wrote after attending (or even officiating at?) a wedding.  He wishes happiness for the married couple and then thinks of his own vocation. Read it here.

PS   We wish Fr Jaimie's SAC confrère Brendan McCarrick every happiness and blessing next Sunday 24th July. He will be ordained in Sligo just a week after Jaimie!  Doesn't match the Dominicans but still . . .

Fr Conor McGee,  Fr Jaimie Twohig,  Mr Donal McMahon