Ordination of Patrick Donnelly for the Diocese of Meath

10 Jun 2005


10 JUNE 2005



On Sunday afternoon at 3pm, Patrick Donnelly (Mullingar) will be ordained
a priest by Bishop Michael Smith in the Cathedral of Christ the King,

Patrick is the son of Kathleen and Paddy Donnelly, eldest brother of Louise and Mark.

Patrick entered the seminary (Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth) in 1998
with 25 other students, including three others from the Diocese of Meath.  
Six months ago, Bishop Smith celebrated another ordination in Mullingar
(Father Padraig Corcoran – December 2004), while a third young man (Shane
Crombie) is due to be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Meath in September.

Patrick will celebrate his first Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King,
Mullingar on Monday 13 June at 7:30pm, after which there will be a reception
for all in the Parish Community Centre.

Further information:
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)
Notes to Editors:
* Bishop Smith will issue a brief statement to mark the occasion on Saturday 11 June
Bishop Michael Smith and Rev. Patrick Donnelly can be contacted via Fr Paul Crosbie
on 044 48338 and 087 9299 388

* A photograph of Patrick is available on request from the Catholic Communications
Office. There will be an opportunity for photographers at the ordination on Sunday
if they contact Cathedral House, Mullingar (044 4833)

* Attached below is an article of significant human interest which appeared in
this week’s Westmeath Examiner, written by Eilis Ryan (Deputy Editor).  

* There will be a total of 8 students ordained from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth
this year and a further four from the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. Ten of
these new priests are being ordained for Irish dioceses (the others are being
ordained for Mostar and Acireale (Sicily).
A thoroughly typical young man – but with a special vocation

Report: Eilís Ryan
Deputy editor, Westmeath Examiner

He has a discman – with Coldplay currently in it – a mobile phone, and that
wonderful fresh-faced complexion of healthy Irish young adulthood.

Although shy by nature, he enjoys going out to the pub occasionally – and
has even been spotted in nightclubs from time to time.

He has a passing interest in soccer and GAA, and still swims – although at
a less frenetic level than when he was a member of the Mullingar Jets
swimming club.

Patrick Donnelly, of Balrath, Slanemore, is a thoroughly typical young man.
But what marks him out from most other young men in their mid-twenties is
that he is about to be ordained for the priesthood.

A rare sighting in this day and age, young men devoting their lives to God
are almost a curiosity, and Patrick admits that whenever he is out with
groups of non-clerical friends, he does find that they do talk a lot to
him about the choice he has made, and why he has made it.

Patrick has been answering these questions for a long time now, for by the
time he was in fifth year in school, he had already more or less made up
his mind that after the Leaving Cert, he would study for the priesthood.

³I¹d been thinking about it for a while,² says Patrick, who decided at that
stage to share with his parents, Kathleen and Paddy, his ambition to become
a priest.

³They were cautious at the time, with all the scandals, and they were saying
it was a hard life, and a lonely life, but once they found out it was for
me, they were very happy with that.  They would have supported me in any
choice,² he says.

Now, Patrick¹s dream comes to fruition, and on Sunday at 3 p.m., at the
Cathedral of Christ the King in Mullingar, he will be ordained by Bishop
Michael Smith.  There for the day will be Patrick¹s parents, as well as
his sister Louise, who is nursing in London; and his brother Mark, a student
at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth

It is a big day for the Donnelly family, but also a big day for the Diocese,
as it is the second ordination in Mullingar in just six months – the last
having been that of Padraig Corcoran from The Downs in December.  Later
this summer, Shane Crombie, from Rahugh, is also to be ordained for the
Meath diocese.

Patrick is very positive about his life choice, and looking forward to enter
fully into the ministry.  

It takes seven years of study to become a priest, and he has had plenty of
opportunity to make sure that he is making the right choice.

³I was firm in my own mind. Then, when you go to Maynooth and see other fellows
like you as well..once you get there, you realise that the real decision-making
takes place then.  You have seven years of thinking, you are being questioned
all along: Œis this for you?¹²

At the time he entered Maynooth, there were 120 clerical students.  Now, there
are just 60.  Five years before he went in, there were 200.
³Twenty-six joined in August 1998, and half of them have been ordained, and
the others have found a different way of life is for them,² says Patrick.

When he told his schoolmates at St. Mary¹s CBS that he was going to study for
the priesthood, he was surprised by their reaction.  ³They were very supportive,
and ones that you wouldn¹t think would be wishing you well were wishing you
well,² he says.

Although he is going into the church at a time when it has been coming through
a rocky period, Patrick says he is happier about how things now stand.

³I would really prefer going in now than maybe twenty years ago: the priest is
not on a pedestal any more: he¹s one of the community.  He¹s seen as human,
and someone you can talk to.²

Some people have the wrong idea about what being a priest is, and how a priest¹s
life is, and they are surprised that priests today can go out for a drink with
friends; or can go, with a group of friends, to a nightclub.

But one thing that remains the same is that the priest is committed to a
life of chastity and celibacy.

³I would have given a huge amount of thought towards celibacy – who doesn¹t
in there?  And I suppose, the biggest thing is not being able to have children.  
And in college, especially, you see different students walking hand in hand,
and you¹d think:  ŒI would like that too¹.  You are not cut off from all that
in college: it¹s in your face.  But the love of God is stronger.  One priest
said to me: Œfor a man who gets married, first in his heart is his wife, while in a priest¹s, it¹s God¹.²

All are welcome to the ordination ceremony at the Cathedral on Sunday, and to
Patrick¹s first Mass, which is being celebrated on Monday night at the Cathedral
at 7.30 p.m., followed by a reception in the parish community centre.