On Sunday last, 27 September 2020, Father Thomas Small was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Kilmore by Bishop Martin Hayes. During his homily, Bishop Hayes outlined that the immediate challenges Father Small will face in his ministry will be bringing people through the pain and frustration caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bishop Hayes said, “Over the past six months or so, we are experiencing turmoil due to the ongoing presence of coronavirus. It has brought uncertainty, worry and frustration, resulted in physical sickness, mental anguish, the tragic death of loved ones, bereavement and it is still ongoing.

“Jesus Christ is with us in our uncertainty, our suffering and pain; He has shared in our human frailty – He has been there Himself. In bonding with us, Jesus has revealed to us a spark of divinity, that ‘still small voice’ which holds us, enfolds us, and can carry us through to new life. We have a solid basis in Jesus Christ with which to offer hope to all who are feeling frustrated, anxious, and fearful today.”

Speaking directly to Father Small, Bishop Hayes emphasised, “This is our calling Thomas, and your calling now. In remaining close to Jesus Christ, drawing upon your upbringing in Marian Park with your parents Bridie and Barney, surrounded by the parish community of Annagh here in Belturbet, and in Milltown, the formation community in Maynooth, you are now ready to offer hope, support, and encouragement to people. On the basis of your spiritual life, your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can be an instrument of that hope, a refuge, the bridge to carry people through. Remember you are chosen from among God’s people and appointed to act for them in relation to God.

In conclusion, Bishop Hayes invited all people to listen to ‘the still small voice’ calling us to be who God wills us to be. He said, “Finally, each one of us is called; to marriage, family life, the single life, or religious life and priesthood – we all feel inadequate, unworthy – that is a good insight, as we then know our need for God’s help. It is not about us, it is not about me, it is all about God and the vital importance of our personal relationship with Jesus.

“If we can all be alert to ‘the still small voice’ calling us now, then perhaps others will discover that further calling to pastoral ministry as a religious or as Thomas has, to priesthood. We rejoice with you, Thomas. We celebrate with your extended family, your parish community, your friends, and as the people, priests and deacons of our diocese. Congratulations, we pray every blessing on your future priestly ministry in the diocese of Kilmore.”

To read the full homily, click here.

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