BY Martin Dunlop | June 17 | comments icon 1 COMMENT     print icon print

8-FR-CONNOR-ORDAINED

Deacon who sang at Papal visit ordained as a priest

— Bishop Joseph Toal ordained David Connor on Tuesday as a priest for Argyll and the Isles Diocese in front of his friends and family

Tuesday evening saw celebrations at St Columba’s Cathedral, Oban, as Bishop Joseph Toal ordained a new priest for Argyll and the Isles Diocese.

Fr David Connor was welcomed as the latest priest to be ordained into the diocese by the clergy of Argyll and the Isles, who joined the new priest’s family and friends in Oban to share in his great joy.

Anticipation

Speaking to the SCO ahead of his ordination, Fr Connor said that he had plenty of reasons to be nervous, but the nerves were of a different kind to those that he felt last September when Pope Benedict XVI began his state visit to the UK in Scotland.

For the Papal Mass at Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park, the then Deacon Connor was asked to chant the Gospel in front of the Holy Father and the thousands of pilgrims gathered for the Mass, not to mention an audience of millions watching on television.

“This was obviously a great highlight for me and a great honour,” he said. “The nerves ahead of my ordination are of a different sort but I don’t think I’ll ever be as nervous as that again!”

Ordination

The parishioners of Argyll and the Isles are delighted to have added a new priest to their community, an opinion that was voiced by Bishop Toal, speaking to the SCO ahead of the ordination Mass.

“The Catholic community of Argyll and the Isles Diocese is overjoyed to celebrate David’s ordination as a priest here in St Columba’s Cathedral, and we pray for God’s blessing upon him and his future ministry,” the bishop said.

Fr Michael Hutson, vocations director for Argyll and the Isles and director of the diocesan choir, of which Fr Connor is a member, was also keen to congratulate the newly ordained priest.

“It is a day of great joy for David and anybody who knows him is absolutely delighted for him,” he said. “So many people in the diocese are appreciative of his generosity.”

Fr Hutson, who was one of the musical directors at the Papal Mass, also spoke of Fr Connor’s involvement at Bellahouston Park last year. “We needed somebody who would not be fazed by the occasion and David fitted the bill perfectly,” he said.

During his homily at Tuesday evening’s Ordination Mass, Bishop Toal said that the help and support of the parish community is something Fr Connor will continue to enjoy throughout his priestly ministry.

“Surrounded by so many people this evening you should be very conscious also that you are not alone in the priestly ministry—you are always supported by the love and prayers of the Faithful within our communities, and you in turn, as their shepherd and priest, pray constantly on their behalf,” Bishop Toal said.

The newly ordained priest is Dunoon born-and-bred and he noted that he was looking forward to celebrating his first Mass at the town’s St Mun’s Church the day after his ordination.

The Mass will be a particularly poignant moment, as he will celebrate alongside Fr Sandy Culley, parish priest of St Mun’s, who has been an inspirational figure in Fr Connor’s journey to the priesthood.

Vocation

Fr Connor’s journey began in the mid 1990’s and followed the death of both of his parents in the space of a few years.

At that time, he was the owner of his own business—a post office and general store in Dunoon—but this was soon to change as his call to the priesthood began to form shortly after his parents’ deaths.

“At this very difficult time I was really beginning to think a lot more about my Faith and speaking to Fr Culley was very helpful,” Fr Connor said. “The help and support of the parish was terrific and to know that people were there for me meant so much. This was one of the main things that got me through such a difficult time. The death of my parents in their 50s was the catalyst for my joining the priesthood.”

Following the completion of his seminary applicant’s year—a 12-month process of prayer and discernment that prepares applicants for entry into the seminary formation programme—Fr Connor began his priestly training at Glasgow’s Scotus College, where he studied until its closure in 2009. From Glasgow he transferred to Maynooth College, Ireland to complete his studies. It was at Maynooth—in May last year—that he was ordained deacon by Bishop Toal, before completing the final year of his study and pastoral formation, which included time spent assisting in a parish in Enfield, County Meath.

Grateful thanks

Fr Connor told the SCO that he was glad to have the support of his sister at his ordination Mass and was also particularly pleased that Bishop Toal would be joined by Bishop Emeritus Ian Murray—as both bishops helped him through his years of formation as a priest.

Following his ordination and first Mass in Dunoon, the newly ordained Fr Connor is taking time to prepare for his first post, which will begin at the end of next month: as administrator at St Margaret’s Church, Lochgilphead.

“This is something I am greatly looking forward to, especially meeting all the people from the parish,” Fr Connor said.

The next stage of the new priest’s journey will provide inspiration for many in Argyll and the Isles, and Bishop Toal commented that the community can ‘thank God that David has responded to the Lord’s call and has offered his life in service of the Church.’

“We appreciate the support he has received in his seminary preparation in Scotus and latterly in Maynooth, and the outstanding care and encouragement always offered by Fr Sandy Culley and the parishioners of St Mun’s, Dunoon,” Bishop Toal said.

“It requires a lot of prayer and sacrifice, both personal and communal, for any man to come to priesthood, and we are most grateful for David’s own commitment and that of all the individuals and communities who have accompanied him on his journey, remembering also David’s deceased parents, and thanking God for the love and example they gave him in the ways                   of Faith.”

–        martin@sconews.co.uk

–        Pic: Anthony MacMillan

Comments - One Response

  1. Philip M.McGhee says:

    The ordination of a priest always shows that God has not lost hope for humanity. Ad multos annos.

Leave a Reply to Philip M.McGhee

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