Congratulations Fr Kevin!!

Newly ordained Fr Kevin Heery takes "radical option" in priesthood

Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, has described priesthood as a "radical option" in today's world during the ordination Mass for Fr Kevin Heery (28).  The ordination took place at 3.00pm today in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, and was attended by hundreds of parishioners from Mullingar.  Earlier in the week, the parish conducted a 24 hour prayer vigil and fast in preparation for the celebration.

"We talk a lot today about the Church needing to take radical steps in proclaiming the Gospel.  I can think of no more radical option that a young man can take than to give his life, in the aloneness that priestly commitment demands, in the name of Christ and at the service of others" Bishop Smith said during his homily. 

Speaking after his ordination Fr Heery said, "I am really heartened by the huge support I've received from people, many of whom I never met before.  It is a great encouragement to me starting out in priesthood.  I genuinely believe that this is a good time for service in the Church.  Lay people are taking a more active role in our parishes and I look forward to playing my part in bringing about the renewal of faith which so many people are hoping for."

Fr Heery's story has resonance with many of his peers.  Fr Heery worked for several years in the financial services in Dublin and transferred to the State Street bank offices in Sydney, Australia.  As part of his final preparations for ministry, he spent time with the Irish chaplaincy in Boston.  Fr Heery said "I have seen at first hand the experiences of Irish people who had to emigrate to Australia and America over the last few years.  Many young couples leave Ireland, often with no prospects of returning, setting up a new home in a new place.  It is encouraging to see that parishes and chaplaincies abroad are working closely with these families, reaching out to them and helping to create a faith community that is supportive in these challenging times."

Given his experiences abroad, it is understandable that Fr Heery's ordination has provoked interest beyond the diocese and in a much wider, global audience.  Today's ordination ceremony was recorded by the American public service broadcast television network CBS as part of a documentary it is preparing on the life of the Church in Ireland.

One of Fr Heery's first tasks will be to share his story at a major faith gathering at the Meath Diocesan Eucharistic Congress next weekend.  The gathering, entitled ‘Come and See', will take place in Navan and has already received a thousand reservations with more anticipated in the run up to the event.  The Meath Eucharistic Congress will feature 25 guest speakers from the world of spirituality, sport and music.  Their personal testimony will focus on the place of the Eucharist in their lives and how the celebration of the Mass can nourish the lives of parish communities.  The Navan event is organised to help parishioners prepare for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in the RDS and Croke Park, which will take place on 10 - 17 June 2012.


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