Next Sunday, Paul Kivlehan will be ordained a priest of Achonry Diocese. It will be the first such ordination in the diocese in ten years and is a source of joy and blessing for us all. We wish Paul every happiness and blessing at this time and for his future ministry.
In days when ordinations were more plentiful, there was great rejoicing in parishes when one of their own became a priest. At one stage, ordinations took place in the seminary and the newly ordained came home the next day to celebrate his First Mass. There’s a lovely poem by John D Sheridan that captures such a homecoming and, in honour of Paul and his classmates to be ordained this summer, I thought it might be good to include it here. As I say, it’s from another age but hopefully some of the sentiment remains:
THE PRIESTIN’ OF FATHER JOHNThey’ll be priestin’ him the morra – Troth it’s a quare world too! For I min’ the rascal that he was, And the things he used to do. Many’s a time I chased him When the strawberries were ripe Though I own I never caught him – He was faster nor a snipe. He hit me wi’ a snowball once, And that same very hand Will be blessin’ me the morra – Troth it’s hard to understand. Long Richard from Kircrubbin, Who a sort of far-out frien’, Is struttin’ round this fortnight back, Just like a hatchin’ hen. McAllister from Cargey, Who’s no more to him nor me, You’d think to hear the chat of him He reared him on his knee. Tom the Tailor’s nearly bet From hurryin’ on new suits, And there’s powerful heavy buyin’ On caps and yella boots. The square is thick with buntin’ – Man dear there’ll be a sight When the late bus from Downpatrrick Gets in the morra night. Oul’ Canon Dan, God bless him, Will be fussin’ fit to burst, And the women batin’ other To get the blessin’ first. But, Canon or no Canon And I’d say this till his face, For all his bit o’ purple He’ll take the second place. Sure even if the Bishop came Wi’ yon big mitre on He wouldn’t get the welcome That we’ll give to Father John. The pains are at me constant now I seldom cross the door – But I’m crossin’ it the morra If I never cross it more. You can quit your scoldin’ , Julia An’ sayin’ I’m not wise – Sure the sight of him will ease me heart An’ gladden me oul’ eyes It won’t be easy bendin’, An’ the oul’ knees will hurt But I’ll get down there fornenst him In all the mud and dirt. And if I get the chance at all I’ll whisper in his ear (Och I’ll do it nice and quiet so that no one else will hear) : “If anything should happen me before you go away, it’s no one but yourself I want to shrive me on the clay. Th’ oul’ Canon mightn’t like it For he’s still hale and strong, And I’m sure if he anointed me He wouldn’t do it wrong. But I’d feel more contented If the hand to bless me when I go Was the hand that threw the snowball Twenty years ago.”
(From “Joe’s No Saint” by John D. Sheridan)