Tag Archives: Mullinabreena

First Mass Celebrated

CELEBRATION

Fr Brendan McCarrick, S.A.C, celebrated his First Mass of Thanksgiving this evening.  The Mass was in his home parish, in the church of The Sacred Heart, Mullinabreena.

PRIEST’S INFLUENCE RECALLED

Ordained on Sunday for the Pallottine Order, Brendan spoke of his vocation and recalled the influence of a former Parish Priest, Archdeacon Padraig O’Grady, for whom he served Mass.  Like our Vocations Director, , a native of the same parish, ordained two years ago, this priest seems to have been quite an influence. Words spoken and life lived made an impression on both men and each acknowledges Archdeacon O’Grady’s positive and affirming role.

“SCENIC ROUTE”

Brendan spoke of the fact he first went to the seminary in the last millennium!  He wondered were there many ordained this year who could say the same?  His vocation story led him to Maynooth in the late 90’s when he felt a call to the diocesan priesthood.  He later reached the decision this was not for him and chose to leave.  In that regard too, he noted the kindness of Archdeacon O’Grady who welcomed and understood his decision. He assured Brendan that God would reveal His plan for him.  For a number of years Brendan worked as an engineer with a well established firm. He maintained contact with his Faith, through Prayer Groups, participating in Choirs etc. In more recent times his path crossed with the Pallottine Order and he is now numbered among their priests. Bishop Kelly jokingly referred to this yesterday as the “scenic route to priesthood”!!

AD MULTOS ANNOS

The diocese wishes him every blessing in his future ministry which will see him heading to Michigan, U.S.A. in the coming months.

A few photos from this evening’s celebration.

Brendan McCarrick S.A.C.

Fr Brendan McCarrick, S.A.C. was ordained to the priesthood on Sunday July 24th.  The Ordination was celebrated in Brendan’s home parish of Mullinabreena and the Ordaining Bishop was Bishop Brendan Kelly.

Accompanied in prayer by his family, neighbours, friends, priests of the Pallottine Order (S.A.C.) as well as many of our own diocesan priests and religious, Brendan answered “Yes” to God’s call to Service.  We wish him every happiness and blessing in his ministry.

Fr Brendan’s first assignment will be in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

Below is the text of Bishop Brendan’s homily.

HOMILY

“‘Samuel, Samuel’, the Lord called. And Samuel answered, ‘Here I am’!”

‘Brendan, Brendan’, the Lord called.

 ‘Let Brendan McCarrick who is to be ordained priest come forward’, we just heard.

And you answered ‘Present’ – Here I am!

Samuel heard the call. So did Brendan

But it took Samuel three attempts before he knew how to answer.

As you yourself know, Brendan, it’s one thing to hear the call, but how exactly to answer can take time (and a number of attempts!)

Discernment takes time and persistence…and the help of the wisdom of an Eli.

So now you know how you must answer.

And it hasn’t changed over the centuries and two testaments, for those called to priesthood:

Its fundamentally a matter of attitude, an attitude lived obediently:

The attitude in the response given by the old priest Eli:

‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’.

This first reading is the one you wanted yourself today, Brendan. It’s a wonderful, challenging and appropriate reading, for today and surely for the rest of your life.

‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’…surely the motto to guide any man who would wish to serve as a priest of God, and to bind himself forever as a servant of God and of God’s people, and specifically within the society of the Catholic Apostolate of St Vincent Pallotti.

In the Collect of this Ordination Mass, we prayed: ‘Lord our God, grant a persevering obedience to your will to this deacon, (Brendan,) so that by his ministry and life, he may gain glory for you in Christ’.

But no glory for yourself. That’s the call. Fundamentally to humility, which is acquired only in the furnace of humiliation,  and in the obedience which you solemnly promise today, not just to God and his Word, but also, in a few moments, to your human superiors.

We live in a world that doesn’t always understand the value that is obedience, but we follow Jesus, whose path was one of ‘humbling himself and becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross’. That path was prefigured in the life of Samuel, whose call, like yours, Brendan was primarily one of listening to God and his word ‘Speak Lord…’

I would like to think therefore that it is providential for you that you come to ordination on this Sunday when the Church gives us all the Gospel we have just heard. This moment when, touched by the example he was witnessing, one  of Jesus’ disciples asked him ‘Lord teach us to pray…’  The disciple of Jesus is a person who longs to pray, a person who sees that somewhere somehow prayer is the foundation of all that Jesus was, all he did, all he spoke. Prayer is the wellspring of all Christian life, this was the example Jesus showed, and those who wish to exercise the apostolate of Jesus Christ, particularly as priests, cannot do so unless their every day, their whole being and every word they utter is founded on prayer. The people of God expect this of us and deserve it, and prayer is the first service we render to them and for them. It’s why you will live in community as a Pallotine, so that you will be encouraged and called into prayer, the only foundation on which Christian communion can be built, by your brothers.

The word priest means ‘mediator’…one who speaks on behalf of others, who in our case as ministerial priests speak to God for our people, our world, ourselves. So that all may be one as Jesus pleaded before his death. Our example is crucial, as was Jesus’ example for his disciples, so that they in their turn might embrace that common priestly baptismal call to be men and women of prayer.

But prayer is also, and primarily what Eli the old priest knew, about listening to God, time with the one who loves us first, pondering his word with Mary. ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’

So, Brendan, from now on your life will not be your own. It will be given… as indeed others give themselves in marriage, for example. And in so far as it is fully given, your example will be the most powerful and effective way that you will inspire, support and serve others…as with Jesus in today’s Gospel.

In this context of the given life, I’d like to recall the Testament of Christian de Chergé, the extraordinary abbot of the Monastery of Tibherine in Algeria who was kidnapped and assassinated along with six of his Cistercian brothers in March 1996. The Testament, written in a letter to be opened after his death, begins as follows:

  ‘If it should happen one day—and it could be today—that I become a victim of the terrorism which now seems ready to encompass all the foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my Church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to this country.’ [Christian de Chergé]

As priests, all our lives are given. To God and to the people we are sent to serve. It is a way of great personal fulfilment…not without struggle and pain…and it is a call from Jesus, worthwhile and entirely necessary in the world of today.

We are told that from the moment he gave the answer ‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening’, Samuel ‘let no word of the Lord’s fall to the ground’.

May that be so for you, Brendan, and you will be a happy priest, given to God and to his people, as Samuel was, – and Jesus – and Vincent Pallotti.

Ordination of Fr Paul Kivlehan

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Some images from Ordination Ceremony on June 9th in Achonry-Mullinabreena Parish.  Fr Paul Kivlehan becomes the newest priest in our diocese.  We thank God for his ordination and pray God’s many and continued blessings on his ministry.

BISHOP BRENDAN’S HOMILY

Anointing with Chrism

Anointing with Chrism

‘As the father has loved me

So I have loved you.

Remain in my love….

 

Love one another as I have loved you….’(Gospel John 15, 9-17)

My dear people of Achonry-Mullinabreena

It is good to be with you today, gathered in this beautifully renewed church of the Sacred Heart. The Sacred Heart of God’s Love. I’m deeply conscious of how you have prepared for this day, the effort and time put in, especially over the past year, so that this would be what it should be, a day to remember, a day when you are at your best as God’s people, a family of faith. Thank you and thank you for Paul.

I’m deeply conscious too that this is the parish of St Nathy, and the parish that gives its name to our diocese. St Nathy is our patron and our father in the faith.

Being here focusses us on the origins, the beginnings of the faith story of the diocese 1500 years ago, and how deep are the roots of the faith that is expressed so eloquently in all the preparations, as in all that we are doing today in Ordaining Paul as priest.

In this Year of Faith, it is no accident that we are having our first Ordination to the priesthood in 10 years, and that that ordination is taking place here in the parish of the priest Nathy himself, with whom the faith story of the diocese began, all those centuries ago.

The faith womb from which Paul the priest is being born today is very deep….

People of Achonry-Mullinabreena, you have restored and renewed this church building for this day on which you give Paul to the diocese as priest. Please let us pray today and let deep reflection begin on the treasure that is our Christian faith, and belonging with Jesus to the family of God, and how that gift of faith may be renewed and restored in the hearts of all the people of this diocese of St Nathy. May this day mark a new beginning for faith throughout our diocese, beginning from this parish….

In the context of renewal, I am reminded of what Pope John Paul 2 said at Knock in September 1979, the very month in which you were born, Paul:

The task of renewal in Christ is never finished. Every generation, with its own mentality and characteristics, is like a new continent to be won for Christ. The Church must constantly look for new ways that will enable her to understand more profoundly and to carry out with renewed vigour the mission received from her Founder’. If that was true in 1979, it is even more true today….and we take these words to heart on this day of profound hope and, yes, why not, new beginning for us all. 

I want to welcome your family, Paul. There are many of them here, including your brother Walter. But I want especially to welcome Annie-Mae and Walter, your parents. They have been your first teachers in the ways of Faith, your best teachers. And you will find Paul that they will continue to be that. A home and parents where prayer and faith is part of the air we breathe is a fountain from which you will continue to draw ever deeper strength as you respond to God’s call, and bring the Good News of God’s love to others in your priestly ministry, especially when the going gets tough. As it will betimes.

In a few moments we will continue with the Ordination ceremony. It is a solemn and joyful ceremony, with many moments rich in word and in sign. The final moment will be when your parents bring forward the chalice and paten which I will then present to you with the words:

‘Accept from the holy people of God

the gifts to be offered to Him.

Know what you are doing,

And imitate the mystery you celebrate:

Model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross’.

This entire ordination ceremony is embedded in the Eucharist, which is the mystery of the Lord’s cross. Out of that mystery, though, Resurrection and new life are born. And out of this mystery too your priesthood is born. Today you become a man of the Eucharist.

A priest doesn’t just celebrate the Holy Eucharist or preside at it:

He becomes eucharist: taken, blest, broken, given.

‘Know what you are doing’, the ceremony will state in a moment, ‘and imitate the mystery you celebrate’.

Already in responding to that small persistent voice [which you recognised in several seemingly small but key moments in your life,] you are aware of the fact that responding to God’s call to priesthood costs. There is a cross. The preface of today’s mass speaking of the priestly vocation, puts it well as it prays to God for priests: it says                                                                                       

 ‘As they give up their lives for you and for the salvation of their brothers and sisters, they strive to be conformed to the image of Christ himself and offer you a constant witness of faith and love’.

The commitment to celibacy made with diaconate, the promise of obedience today, are part of that giving up, that witness of faith and love. Priesthood doesn’t come cheap. 

Were this not a Sunday, we would be celebrating on this day, June 9,  the feast of the great St Colmcille or Columba. In this context, there is an ancient little tale recounted in the Book of Lismore. It tells us that Colmcille came to visit Nathy here in Achonry one time. Along with him were two other famous saints and founders of churches, St Cainneach of Ossory (Kilkenny) and St Comghall of Bangor. They arrived after evening meal time, and Nathy left them without food till the morning – that was the normal fasting time in the ancient Irish monasteries – and then he assessed their reactions! Fasting was a central part of Christian practice in ancient Achonry. The fact is worth pondering, but we won’t talk about fasting here now for today and tomorrow!

You see Nathy, good priest that he was, was right…assessing the reaction of his friends to the fasting, the sacrifice the situation they found themselves in demanded. Life as priest invites us to fast often…as it invites all the people of God, whose servants we are. That’s how it was for the Master who calls us, even to the ultimate deprivation and desolation that was Golgotha.

But already, Paul, you have tasted too the truth of resurrection, new life, joy. You come here today surrounded by love: family, friends, neighbours …community, the rocklike security of knowing you belong and are cherished…. This ceremony and this day with all its preparation, as already mentioned, is redolent of sacrifice and unselfish giving: and all of that, a sure image and taste of the infinite love of the one Jesus reveals to us all as Father. We beautify our churches so they will remind us of heaven, and the great joy that is the fulfilment of all human longing. We are a people of Resurrection, and you will be a man of resurrection, feet firmly planted in the whole of the Paschal mystery, because you are man of the Holy Eucharist

The mayflower is in full bloom outside and the sun glorious in the sky, our ceremony here is rich and we are all gathered in faith and hope and love around you. God is doing a good thing in you, Paul, for all our sakes. Thank you for your yes to him, and may He, who has begun this work in you, bring it to fulfilment in Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.