The Diocese of Cloyne in the south of Ireland has been in the news quite a bit these last few weeks, with many asking that Bishop John Magee resign over the way he handled allegations of child abuse by priests. However, no charges were brought against the two priests in question.
But yesterday’s Irish Times carries a story about a newly-ordained priest of the diocese, Fr Seán Corkery, Serving up a new vocation. He is a former professional chef.
One particularly interesting point in the article reads:
Corkery was wondering if he would have the confidence to be a leader. He was also unsure as to whether he would have the ability to ‘put words on tragedy’ for families impacted by sudden deaths.
‘In sad tragic times the priest is the voice of the community. You have to be there for people in the devastating times and know what to say and do. You have to try to put some shapes on the tragedies. I was wondering if I would have the confidence to do it.’
There seem to be more and more tragedies in Ireland in recent years, suicides, murders, road-deaths involving young people and so on. The Church is still the place where people try to come to terms with these and try to make sense of them. And in the last year a number of funerals of persons who could be described as agnostics have taken place in Catholic churches in Ireland.
Death seems to be the one situation where people are seeking the Good News from priests.
Pray for Father Corkery that he may have a long and happy life serving the people of his diocese and that he may lead others to consider the priesthood. Maybe too, with his professional background, he’ll become an Irish equivalent of Filipino-American Fr Leo Patalinghug of Grace Before Meals!
There is an account, with photos, of the ordination of Father Corkery on 22 June last year on the Cloyne website.I've been having trouble lately uploading photos.