FATHER CONNOR McCARTHY, BELFAST
|Fr Conor McCarthy|
I have just watched the newly ordained Down and Connor (27) priest celebrate the 6.30 pm Mass at St Peter's Cathedral in Belfast.
He came across as balanced, gentle and unassuming and his homily was extremely good for an "L" learner priest.
Watching I was reminded of my own priestly beginnings - forty years ago next June.
It also reminded me of my 5 years of service in St Peter's from 1978 until 1983 and how much I loved the people and my work there - even thought it was at a very different time (The Troubles) than I hope Connor McCarthy has ever to endure.
I was reminded of how absolutely full of the "First Fervour" that I was and how, over the years my enthusiasm took such a knocking from the Institutional Church and from various power hungry bishops and cynical priests.
Thankfully I have never, to date, lost my faith or sense of vocation and I want to be a priest at least as much today as when I entered the seminary in 1970 - 45 years ago.
If I had to start all over again - I would. But, I would not want to! I would not want to have to face my little boat into such stormy waters again. Thats a journey that is enough for one life time :-)
I sincerely wish Connor McCarthy well and I hope that he has not been spoiled already and that his emergence out into the truly awful clerical world will not hurt or crush him.
He will need all the grace that God can give him and all the guidance the Spirit can provide him with.
He will also need the love and support of his family and a few good friends.
As he enters the garden of ministry may he be preserved from the foxes, the wasps and the poisonous plants that abound there!