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Berkeley tragedy showed positive face of priesthood

By Sarah Mac Donald - 06 July, 2015

Tragic event and its aftermath saw many priests willing to minister to the families “at a time of desolation for them”: Bishop Crean.

Bishop William Crean of Cloyne ordains Rev Eamon Roche.

Bishop William Crean of Cloyne ordains Rev Eamon Roche.

The tragic deaths of the six young people in Berkeley was recalled by Bishop William Crean in his homily on Sunday as he ordained Fr Eamon Roche to the priesthood.

In his homily at Cobh Cathedral, the Bishop of Cloyne said the tragedy led to a natural outpouring of sympathy for their six young people’s families who lost their sons and daughters in the springtime of their lives.

“Hope and aspiration gave way to the sense of huge loss and despair that such a tragedy brings to life,” he said.

Bishop Crean said he recalled this tragic event and its aftermath for the presence of so many priests who at various moments were available and willing to minister to the families “at a time of desolation for them” and “to bring some consolation by being with them in their hour of need”.Cloyne ordination

He paid tribute to Irish Times journalist Cathy Sheridan’s article which acknowledged the positive face of priesthood, at a time when there was often a very negative media portrayal of the priesthood because of the abuse scandals.

Addressing Cloyne’s newsest priest, Bishop Crean told 44-year-old Rev Roche that he must apply his energy to the duty of teaching in the name of Christ, the chief Teacher.

“Share with all mankind the word of God you have received with joy. Meditate on the law of God, believe what you read, teach what you believe, and put into practice what you teach.”

He acknowledged that the new priest would have no illusions from your years spent in formation how challenging this task will be.

Archbishop Eamon Martin lays his hands on Fr Aidan McCann during his ordination.   Ordination to the Priesthood of Brian Slater and Aidan McCann   St Patrick's Cathedral Armagh   5 July 2015  Credit: LiamMcArdle.com

Archbishop Eamon Martin lays his hands on Fr Aidan McCann during his ordination and that of Rev Brian Slater at St Patrick’s Cathedral Armagh on Sunday. Credit: LiamMcArdle.com

“However, you are well acquainted with the world of commerce and technology so you will bring those skills and insights to your ministry.”

The Bishop of Cloyne said the papal ministry of Pope Francis was “truly an inspiration to us all – his genuine joy in the Good News that is Christ Jesus is a model for all who seek to walk the Christian Way.”

“It is precisely that sense of Joy that lifts the human heart.”

It was this almost innate sense of joy and hope that sustained our fore bearers through the most difficult days of our history, Dr Crean said.

However, he stressed that this generation faces new challenges.

Fr Aidan McCann and Fr Brian Slater, centre,  with Archbishop Eamon Martin and seminarians Barry Matthews and Damian Quigley after their ordination in St Patrick's Cathedral Armagh.    Ordination to the Preisthood of Brian Slater and Aidan McCann   St Patrick's Cathedral Armagh   5 July 2015  Credit: LiamMcArdle.com

Credit: LiamMcArdle.com

“There is enormous pressure on a new generation to embrace an essentially agnostic world view – whereby so much spiritual heritage is jettisoned without thought or reflection for what can be lost,” he said.

The bishop added that the Christian spiritual vision can at once be an anchor, a lighthouse, a sextant, all instruments of safe navigation on the voyage of life.

A GPS can pinpoint our physical location with frightening precision – yet it is useless in monitoring or nurturing the inner self.

We need wisdom in choosing what we value in life, he said.

The ordination of Rev Roche was one of five ordinations this weekend in the dioceses of Armagh, Cashel & Emly, Clogher and Cloyne, the last batch of a bumper cohort of 15 ordinations this year which stemmed from the special Year of Vocation.

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