Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor described today as a day of joy for the parish and a day of hope for the diocese, as he ordained Rev. James O’Reilly as a priest. The ceremony took place in Christ the Redeemer Church, Lagmore, Belfast.
Addressing Rev James and the congregation, Bishop Treanor said’ “Your ordination to the priesthood today, James, is an occasion of Christian joy for your native parish, Christ the Redeemer, and for the community here in Lagmore. It is also a day of rejoicing, hope and new energy for the local Church in our diocese of Down and Connor, where you will serve for many decades the Christian community and those entrusted to your priestly care.
“Fr James, you take up your priestly ministry in a societal and cultural context characterised by immense challenges for the individual person. You step into priestly ministry in a time when the speed of life calls us to state and re-state for ourselves the meaning of our lives. We are constantly seeking to be sure of and to fine-tune the meaning of our lives. So in this respect it is a challenging time for families, for humanity, for society, for the state, and for the governance and organisation of global society. The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the understanding and appreciation of the Christian tradition is vital to responding the challenges in each of these arenas and to the inter-connections between those challenges. To be alive to our humanity, we cannot fall into a dozing or sleepy indifference in the face of these challenges. Pope Francis has often spoken about the temptation to indifference and the dangers of the globalisation of indifference – indifference to human suffering, to social injustice, indifference to caring for the environment, indifference to the dignity of life, indifference to God and the sacred. May this your Ordination ceremony inspire us all, together with you, to give witness to Christian charity, love, insight, wisdom and communion as we live and address the issues of our times.”
Bishop Treanor went on to say, “In this background to our personal lives in this time of austerity marked by strong trends towards individualism and anonymity, when attitudes of relativism and indifference weaken social fabric, there is an urgent need to work for, to pray for and to encourage vocations to the religious life and to the diocesan priesthood. These consecrated lives of service to God and people stand as simple testimony to burning love of God and to the loving service of individuals, families and society. May this day inspire and energize each one of us to encourage young women and men to explore that call that they may experience to the religious life or to the priesthood.
“And as we now draw to the end of this your ordination, Fr James, we pray that Christ may sustain you in the joyful exercise of His priestly ministry and that your family, friends and those you will serve may ever support and sustain you in the years ahead.”
James O’Reilly is 31 and is the son of Patricia and Patrick O’Reilly. He has one elder sister (Katrina) and two younger brothers (Matthew and Tiernan). James was originally from Poleglass and received his early education in St Kieran’s Primary School, Poleglass and St Patrick’s High School, Lisburn. James completed A-levels through Belfast Metropolitan College, before attending St Mary’s University College (2005-2008) where he completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, James spent a year living and serving as part of a missionary team in Detroit, Michigan. Upon returning home, James spent a further year working for Youth Initiatives; a Christian youth organisation based in West Belfast.
James was accepted to study for the priesthood in 2010 and entered Saint Malachy’s Seminary, Belfast, in September of that year, where he began philosophical studies through the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham and QUB, Belfast. In 2012, James continued his formation programme at the Pontifical Seminary in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, studying theology at bachelor’s level (STB). James was ordained as a deacon on 31 May 2015 as the final stage in preparation for priesthood. James has spent his summers during this time working in the parishes of St Patrick’s, Belfast and Downpatrick.
James’s ordination will be one of nine for Irish dioceses in 2016.