By Sarah Mac Donald - 05 May, 2015
Care of the clergy is a duty shared by a bishop, fellow priests and the people of God, Bishop Noel Treanor has highlighted as he ordained a new priest for the diocese of Down and Connor.
At St Columcille’s Church in Holywood last weekend, Bishop Treanor said in his homily that as part of the diocese’s Living Church initiative “we need to keep alive among us a spirit of care and support for our priests, as numbers diminish, priests grow older and pastoral expectations increase”.
Dr Treanor said that on the occasion of an ordination to the priesthood, “it behoves us as a people to take stock of the fact that care of clergy is a duty shared by bishop, fellow priests and the people of God during the course of their ministry and also in times of illness and the closing years of their lives”.
He told 27-year-old Fr Andrew Black, “The diocese is blessed to receive you, Andrew, as one of its priests. In prayer we now rejoice with you in the celebration of the sacrament of your Ordination.”
Fr Black was baptised into the Church of Ireland, but turned to Catholicism in his teenage years as part of his faith journey.
He is the first of two deacons from the diocese of Down and Connor who are being ordained to the priesthood this year. In June, Rev Conor McCarthy will be ordained in St Anne’s parish in Belfast.
In his homily, Bishop Treanor gave thanks to those who helped Fr Black’s preparation for priesthood in the seminary and those who guided him as he pursued the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training in hospitals in Antrim and Dublin.
He spent time working in the Holy Family Parish in north Belfast before he went becoming a chaplain in the City Hospital in Belfast and St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. “Being a hospital chaplain is very challenging but an important part of what we do,” he told the Irish News.
After studying philosophy and history at Queen’s University in Belfast, Fr Black began his studies for the priesthood at St Malachy’s College in 2007 and spent two years there. He then continued his studies at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.
The Diocese of Down and Connor currently has 10 students preparing for the priesthood.