BY Peter Diamond | July 5 2019 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


lollipop man, botanist, teacher: new priests are called from all walks of life

Five ordinations to the priesthood in one week illustrates the wide variety of men called by God

The latest cohort of men to be ordained shepherds of the Church have revealed the spectrum of pathways to priesthood with some studying horticulture, helping children cross the road, or delivering post, prior to entering seminary.

Within one week Scotland has gained five priests, with two more set to be ordained this month.


‘Closer to the Church’

The president for Priests for Scotland, Bishop John Keenan of Paisley Diocese, said he hoped that the latest influx of ordinations would bring people ‘closer to the Church, to Christ and the teachings of the Faith.’

The latest men ordained highlight the variety of roads that lead to the priesthood.

On Thursday June 27, Fr Charles Coyle was ordained a priest for Motherwell Diocese in St Columbkille’s Church Rutherglen. Fr Coyle was previously a botanist who worked and studied in botanical gardens across the UK until he finally ‘listened’ to his call to priesthood when he was aged 30.


All walks of life

On Friday June 28, Fr Patrick Harrigan was ordained a priest for St Andrew’s & Edinburgh Archdiocese in St Mary’s Cathedral.

Fr Harrigan, who was previously a teacher in Religious Education in secondary and Additional Support Needs schools, also worked in a supermarket and as a lollipop man before studying for priesthood.

On Wednesday July 3 Fr Willie McQuillan was ordained a priest for St Andrews & Edinburgh Archdiocese in St Margaret’s Church Dunfermline.

Fr McQuillan used to deliver mail as a postman before going to Beda College in Rome to study for priesthood and will now ‘deliver’ the word of God.


2019 total

Six of Scotland’s eight dioceses will receive men into the priesthood in 2019, bringing the total number of ordinations this year to 10.

Bishop Keenan, president of Priests for Scotland, said: “I am delighted that the Catholic Church in Scotland is welcoming five men into the priesthood in July.

“In recent years, there has been a steady and sustained interest from men of various ages and backgrounds, who have answered God’s call and approached our vocations directors to apply for seminary.

“I am particularly grateful to the lay faithful for their prayers and support in encouraging our young men and women to enter religious life.

“We hope that the joy of several ordinations throughout 2019 will bring our people closer to the Church, to Christ and the teachings of the Faith.”


Further ordinations

In December three more priests will be ordained for Aberdeen, Dunkeld and Glasgow dioceses.

On Tuesday July 9, the feast of Our Lady of Aberdeen, Deacon Ronald Campbell will be ordained a priest for Argyll and the Isles Diocese in St Mary’s Church Benbecula.

Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles Diocese said: “I am very much looking forward to ordaining Deacon Ronald Campbell to the priesthood in his home parish of St Mary’s, Benbecula this July. It will be a great occasion for Ronald, his family, his island and all the diocese.”

On Tuesday July 16 Deacon Kevin Lawrie will be ordained a priest for Motherwell Diocese in St Aloysius Church, Chapelhall, bringing to a close a bumper year for ordinations in that diocese.


‘Great blessing’

Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell said: “It is a great blessing for the diocese to have five men being ordained priests this summer.

“We thank God for the gift of their vocations and look forward to their ministry among us. We are grateful also to all who accompanied them on their journey to priestly ordination in their families, parishes and seminaries.”

On Monday July 1, Fr Kieran Hamilton was ordained a priest in St Barbara’s Church, Muirhead and on Wednesday July 3, after the SCO went to press, Fr Mark O’Donnell was ordained a priest in St Thomas’ Church Wishaw.

Both men cited the influence of the Lourdes Catholic pilgrimage shrine in France as having a special role in helping them decide priesthood was the right vocation for them.



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