‘The fundamental law of Christianity is the law of love’ says Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at double ordination

16 Nov, 2017 | News

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, celebrated the ordination of Rev Bill O’Shaughnessy and Rev James Daly on Tuesday 14 November, the feast of Saint Laurence O’Toole, patron saint of the diocese. The ordination liturgy took place at Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin City Centre.

Rev Bill O’Shaughnessy is from Castledermot in Co Kildare. Over the past ten years Rev Bill studied at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, entering the national seminary in 2012. He completed his formation in the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. He was ordained a deacon in Saint Mark’s Basilica in Rome in March 2016 and ministered in Saint Matthew’s Parish, Ballyfermot. He will now serve Springfield and Jobstown parishes in Tallaght in the south-west of the archdiocese.

Rev James Daly hails from Shanagarry, Co Cork. Following work in local government, Rev James became a youth minister in the United States. On his return he studied at Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin, graduating in 2007 with a Bachelor in Religious Education and English. In 2013 he entered the Irish College in Rome, graduating earlier this year with a licence in Spiritual Theology. He will now serve in the parish of Skerries.

With the two ordinations on Tuesday, there are now over 380 diocesan and religious priests serving in the Archdiocese of Dublin. Twenty-five women and men are working as parish pastoral workers and 22 men have been ordained Permanent Deacons over the past five years. Archbishop Martin has ordained 16 men to the diocesan priesthood since he became Archbishop in 2004.

In his homily at the ordination, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said, ‘The opening prayer of our Mass succinctly reminded us of the characteristics of the priestly ministry Saint Laurence O’Toole. He was a man of deep prayer and holiness, fostered initially through his life of solitude and quiet as monk and Abbot of Glendalough … Laurence became a true shepherd of his people. He is described particularly as a friend of the poor. His residence became a place where the poor were certain to find welcome and food at a time of great distress for the many who experienced dismal poverty. He was also a man of perseverance, a man who went to every possible extent to bring peace to Dublin and to the country, showing the crucial role that a man of faith can play in the realities of political and social life.’

He continued, ‘Dear Bill and James. Firstly may I thank you for the way in which you have prepared for this day and for the challenging life that opens out for you today. They have been long years but you never lost your own passion to be priests. The clergy and the people of this diocese welcome you and I know they will accompany your ministry with their prayers. Once again, I thank your families for the way in which they nurtured your Christian faith over the years and also those who were responsible for your formation.

‘Prayer and solitude, true pastoral care for the people entrusted to you, being friend of the poor: these are characteristics of Saint Laurence O’Toole which should be part of the inspiration and motivation of the ministry to which the Church calls you today.’

Archbishop Martin went on to say, ‘The fundamental law of Christianity is the law of love. The Gospel reading reminds us of the call of Peter by Jesus to be shepherd of his flock. The questioning of Jesus is not a theological examination or an evaluation of their social or political views, but a repeated questioning about Peter’s love. Jesus knew the fragility of Peter’s love and loyalty, but even though imperfect, that love was to be the strength of his calling and mission. Peter was upset at being asked three times. Bill and James: your ministry of witnessing to the love of Jesus will inevitably at times upset your human sensitivity, comfort, and security. Never allow human upset to impede your love of Jesus.

‘The great commandment of love is rooted in the very nature of God. In a recent article, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reflected on the early Church’s teaching of a God who is Lord because he is “free to exercise his essential being which is love wherever he wills”. We Christians are called then to learn to love beyond the boundaries of common interest and human sympathy. Christian love is a love that is not inspired by any reciprocal benefit that may emerge.’

He continued, ‘These last fifty years have seen great changes in Irish culture and in the place of the Church in society. Fifty years ago, the Catholic Church in Ireland played a dominant and at times domineering role in so many aspects of Irish society.

‘Where then Bill and James must you root the foundations of your following the law of God’s love in a changing Ireland? It is the same question that I must ask of myself and each of us must ask as priests, religious or lay Christians. We have to rediscover a faith that integrates our lives as Laurence O’Toole did. We need a faith where theology and prayer, witness and care of the poor belong together and can influence the world around us and make society more loving.

‘Our faith must influence the society around us. But that influence on society will be sterile without faith. I quote again from Archbishop Rowan Williams: “we should not be surprised if we become hazy about our doctrine … when we are less clear about our priorities as a community, or if we become less passionate about service, forgiveness and peace when we have stopped thinking clearly about God”.’

Archbishop Martin concluded, ‘The Christian life is not easy. Belief in Jesus Christ, however, opens the way to new freedom. The Christian life is not about blindly following a pre-established rulebook or imposing rules on others. It involves attaining the freedom to renounce prosperity and security for ourselves in order to live for others as Jesus did and then finding joy and fulfilment in living the Gospel.

‘Bill and James you are called in a special way to minister to God’s people through the celebration of the Eucharist, the celebration of the sacrificial love of Christ for his people and the spiritual nourishment of a life of Christian love. You cannot celebrate that mystery of God’s love without embodying in your own lives a ceaseless love for Jesus. Our prayer this morning at this landmark moment in your lives is that God, who has begun the good work in you, may, day by day, bring it to fulfilment.’

Archbishop Martin’s full homily can be read on www.dublindiocese.ie.


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