By Cian Molloy - 12 June, 2017
Priesthood takes “a special kind of courage and plenty of staying power”, said the Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan at the ordination of Fr Billy Caulfield at St James’s Church in Horeswood, Co. Wexford.
In his homily the Bishop said he was sure that Fr Billy would have many questions about the journey ahead of him and the challenges that he will meet along the way.
“Nobody can answer these questions, that’s why a vocation is such an adventure. There are no guarantees,” said the Bishop.
“In these days becoming a priest in Ireland can truly be described as an adventure! At times you will feel the appreciation people have for your presence and ministry. At other times you will feel the anger/hostility people have for the Church in general directed at you.”
Bishop Brennan said: “The American novelist Kurt Vonnegut says that the job of the artist is to ‘make people appreciate being alive, at least a little bit’. I think that’s the job of the priest as well, to make people appreciate being alive, at least a little bit.
“This takes a special kind of courage and plenty of staying power. Anybody can do it for a time, but to do it all the days of your life demands great strength of character and generosity of spirit.”
He continued: “There is a lot of concern in Church circles these days about the future. This is understandable given the volume of criticism and negativity directed at the Church over recent times.
“Last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples. At Pentecost we talk about the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit – the things the Holy Spirit gave to the disciples.
“I think we need to remember what the Spirit took from the disciples in the upper room as well – He took away completely their fear and anxiety about the future. In these Pentecost days we need to cast off our fears too; we are not the first generation of Christians to worry and wonder about the future! In every age people have written the obituary of the Church and our age is no exception.”
According to Bishop Brennan, in today’s rapidly changing Ireland, faith is cherished and challenged in equal measure. And he told the young Wexfordian: “As you go forward from this day into your future as a priest always remember – not only have you chosen, you have been chosen too!
“Priesthood is often described as a ‘gift’. Forty-seven years ago I was given that gift. Today, Billy, in the presence of your family and friends, I happily give that gift to you!”
Also on Sunday, in the Diocese of Cork and Ross, Bishop John Buckley ordained Fr Evin O’Brien at the Church of the Holy Cross in Mahon.