IT was only fitting that Fr Ronan Sheehan got to be ordained in his native church in Newcestown on Sunday September 18th before a large attendance, including over 50 priests as well as Bishop Fintan Gavin, Bishop of Cork & Ross.
The 27 year old has now become the youngest priest – and the only priest – to be ordained in the Diocese of Cork and Ross this year.
Incidentally, it was also Bishop Fintan Gavin’s first ordination since becoming bishop, as well as being the first ordination to take place in St John the Baptist Church in Newcestown, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.
The congregation included Ronan’s parents Bud and Denise Sheehan, his sisters Ciara, Leona, Orlaith and Aoibhe, and extended family, parishioners and friends.
The parishioners in Newcestown parish had been preparing a long time for this historic moment and volunteered to do everything from forming a special choir to erecting marquees to accommodate the overflow from the church.
Addressing the congregation during the ordination Mass, Bishop Gavin said that Fr Sheehan joins a long line of priests and religious which the parish has offered the universal church over the past 200 years.
Bishop Gavin reminded Fr Sheehan that priesthood is about service. ‘Ronan, you are called to act in a unique way in the person of Christ in the Eucharist and the other sacraments. Acting in the person of Christ means that a priest can never put himself or his personal opinion at the centre of his ministry.’
Fr Sheehan then celebrated his first mass and blessing in Newcestown on Monday evening where he received the sacraments for the first time while in school.
On Tuesday evening he celebrated mass at the second church of the parish in Farnivane, where he was baptised.
At his first mass and blessing on Monday night, Fr Sheehan thanked all those in the parish who made his ordination in his home parish so special and who worked tirelessly in advance of his ordination. Fr Sheehan also mentioned his Canadians friends who travelled over especially for his ordination and he confirmed that he will be taking up a position as curate in the parishes of Ballincollig, Ballinora and Ovens in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, new priests have been ordained in Church of Ireland parishes in Skibbereen and Carrigaline.
The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, conducted the ordinations at a ceremony recently in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork. In total, three people were ordained – one man and two women – and are all currently serving as deacons in the Diocese.
The Reverend Carole Pound is serving in the ordained local ministry in the Abbeystrewry (Skibbereen) Union of Parishes.
The Reverend Richard Dring is serving in the ordained local ministry in Carrigaline Union of Parishes.
And Reverend Jean Carney is serving as curate-assistant in Douglas Union of Parishes, with Frankfield.
As priests, they will continue to serve in those places.