BY Amanda Connelly | July 6 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

4-FR-MARSHALL

Fr Andrew Marshall ordained for Dunkeld

AMANDA CONNELLY looks at the journey of one of Scotland’s newest priests, and discovers that God calls all types of people

Dunkeld parishioners welcomed a new priest for the diocese and for Scotland, as they celebrated the ordination of Fr Andrew Marshall.

Thursday June 29 saw a packed St Andrew’s Cathedral in Dundee, as hundreds gathered in prayer and­ thanksgiving for Fr Marshall, one of the country’s newest young priests.

Fr Marshall, a seminarian at St Mary’s College in Oscott, Birmingham, was ordained by Bishop Stephen Robson of Dunkeld Diocese on the feast of Sts Peter and Paul, with many of his family, friends, and fellow clergy in attendance.

“It was extremely uplifting not just to receive the precious gift of ordination, that I’d dreamed of receiving my whole life, but also to celebrate that with all my closest friends and family, and to have everybody together under one roof supporting me and praying for me,” Fr Marshall said following his ordination.

“It was such a special occasion and something that will be indelibly etched in my memory, but most importantly in my heart. It was just so beautiful.

Fr Marshall said his journey to the priesthood was inspired by his grandmother.

“She passed on the gift of Faith to me and took me to church,” he said. “I think God used her as an aid, and to give me my vocation, and she nurtured that vocation over the years.

“She had a sense that I was called to be a priest, so she would always give me lots of advice when I was growing up on how to be a good priest, so I always had a sense of it since I was a really young lad.

“It took me a long time to finally respond to it, because there were certain obstacles on my path that prevented me from putting myself forward, but I finally got here.

“It was actually through her death, it’s quite a sad story but in a sense happy as well, because when she was dying in hospital, I ministered to her in a priestly way: praying with her, comforting her. As soon as she passed away it struck me that I was wasting my life doing what I was planning to do, and that I should be giving my life to God as a priest.”

“I taught in Korea before I went to seminary. I also taught in Germany and France, and then when I was in seminary I became a missionary for one year. I was discerning a missionary call, and I went to Uganda to work in a parish to discern my vocation, but also to teach English in a philosophy institute.”

Fr Marshall said his ordination was the ‘most special thing this side of Heaven.’

“A priest friend said to me it’s the most powerful thing that exists this side of Heaven, the power that the priest channels from God to the people. It’s such a wonderful, fulfilling and rewarding life, to be able to help people in the many priestly ways and to bring Christ to God’s people and to bring God’s people to Christ.

“There’s nothing more special than that. I think it is the most special thing this side of Heaven, to be able to be used by Christ as an instrument in those wonderful ways.”

Among those at Fr Marshall’s ordination were a faithful busload of parishioners from St Joseph’s Church in Burntisland, along with parish priest Fr James Tracey, as well as other parishioners who made their own way to up to the cathedral for the ‘lovely’ ordination Mass.

It was in St Joseph’s Church, Fr Tracey noted, that the new Fr Marshall described himself as having received ‘the gift of Faith’ at the church ‘where his vocation was fostered,’ serving as an altar server.

Also at the packed cathedral on Thursday, which saw an incredible number of around 50 priests concelebrating Mass together on the altar, was Fr Michael Carrie, who is the vocations director for Dunkeld ­Diocese, and spent time in seminary with Fr Marshall during his time in Rome.

“The cathedral was full; there were lots of priests there,” Fr Carrie said. “It was nice to see the full sanctuary with priests from the diocese and from outwith the diocese.

“I’ve known Andrew for a while because we were students together in Rome, and then Andrew decided to take some time out and went off to do work as a missionary, and then went to Korea to teach English for a while before he started back at Oscott to finish his studies.

“So it was nice to see all that hard work culminating in his ordination.”

He added that the bishop was ‘always happy’ to see a new priest in the diocese, and that it’s ‘nice for the people as well to see there’s someone giving their life to God, that this is what they feel called to do, to give up their life and to serve the Church as a priest.’

As vocations director for Dunkeld Diocese, he also encouraged any men who are considering to the priesthood to ‘continue to pray about it, to continue to discern.’

“God calls people from all sorts of backgrounds,” he said, drawing on Sts Peter and Paul, whose feast days were celebrated on the day of Fr Marshall’s ordination, as an example.

“God called two of the most unlikely people, Peter and Paul, to be his apostles, and look what happened to them.

“It doesn’t mean one day you might end up as Pope, but God calls us and we might not feel that we are ready to serve Him, but as part of the discernment process God prepares us and makes us as good a people as we can be, and good priests. If people do feel called to be a priest, just to get in touch with their vocations director or in touch with their parish priest just to chat about it with them, and continue to pray for vocations, that more young men will hear the call of God to serve Him in the Church.”

Following the joyful occasion of his ordination, the new priest made a warm return to Burntisland for his First Mass, followed by continued celebrations in the church hall and outside afterwards.

“It was a great celebration,” said Fr Tracey. “They know how to celebrate in Burntisland!”

He went on to describe the ‘lovely congregation’ and the way in which everyone ‘pulled together.’

On June 31, Fr Marshall returned once again to St Andrew’s Cathedral in Dundee to celebrate a Thanksgiving Mass, as many came to join the new clergyman in praising God for this new shepherd for Dunkeld, and indeed Scotland’s Catholic community.

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