Fr Ronan Sheehan (27) was ordained in his own parish church in Newcestown, Co Cork, on Sunday 18 September 2022 in a church packed with family, clergy, parishioners and friends
This was the West Cork church’s first ordination of a priest in its 150 year history.
Fr. Sheehan was ordained by Bishop Fintan Gavin, Bishop of Cork and Ross, and he becomes the youngest priest in the diocese.
The congregation included his parents Bud and Denise Sheehan, his sisters Ciara, Leona, Orlaith and Aoibhe, and extended family.
Murragh and Templemartin Parish has been preparing a long time for this historic moment and parishioners volunteered to do everything from forming a special choir to erecting marquees to accommodate the overflow from the church.
Ronan’s family and friends also took an active part in the liturgy with his sister Orlaith proclaiming the First Reading. The congregation responded with a warm round of applause when his parents Denise and Bud put the vestments of a priest on Ronan for the first time just after he was ordained a priest by the laying on of hands of Bishop Fintan. Addressing the congregation during the Ordination Mass, Bishop Fintan Gavin said that Fr Sheehan joins a long line of priests and religious from the parish over the past 200 years. Speaking directly to the candidate for ordination, the bishop reminded Fr. Sheehan that priesthood is about service.
“Ronan, you are called to act in a unique way in the person of Christ in the Eucharist and the other sacraments. Acting in the person of Christ means that a priest can never put himself or his personal opinion at the centre of his ministry.”
“He is called to lead people not to himself but to Christ,” the bishop said.
Fr. Sheehan will celebrate his First Mass on Monday 19 September - 7:00pm at Newcestown Church where he received the sacraments for the first time while in school.
On Tuesday evening he will celebrate Mass at the second church of the parish in Farnivane where he was baptised.
Photos: Peter Pietrzak © 2022
Watch the complete ordination
Watch Fr Ronan's first Mass