Bishop Michael Smith ordains Kevin Heery to the priesthood

09 Oct 2011

The newly-ordained Father Kevin Heery with Bishop Michael Smith after his Ordination Mass in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar on Sunday 9 October 2011

Bishop Michael Smith ordains Kevin Heery to the priesthood

Newly ordained Fr Kevin Heery takes “radical option” in priesthood

Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, has described priesthood as a “radical option” in today’s world during the ordination Mass for Fr Kevin Heery (28).  The ordination took place at 3.00pm today in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, and was attended by hundreds of parishioners from Mullingar.  Earlier in the week, the parish conducted a 24 hour prayer vigil and fast in preparation for the celebration.

“We talk a lot today about the Church needing to take radical steps in proclaiming the Gospel.  I can think of no more radical option that a young man can take than to give his life, in the aloneness that priestly commitment demands, in the name of Christ and at the service of others” Bishop Smith said during his homily.

Speaking after his ordination Fr Heery said, “I am really heartened by the huge support I’ve received from people, many of whom I never met before.  It is a great encouragement to me starting out in priesthood.  I genuinely believe that this is a good time for service in the Church.  Lay people are taking a more active role in our parishes and I look forward to playing my part in bringing about the renewal of faith which so many people are hoping for.”

Fr Heery’s story has resonance with many of his peers.  Fr Heery worked for several years in the financial services in Dublin and transferred to the State Street bank offices in Sydney, Australia.  As part of his final preparations for ministry, he spent time with the Irish chaplaincy in Boston.  Fr Heery said “I have seen at first hand the experiences of Irish people who had to emigrate to Australia and America over the last few years.  Many young couples leave Ireland, often with no prospects of returning, setting up a new home in a new place.  It is encouraging to see that parishes and chaplaincies abroad are working closely with these families, reaching out to them and helping to create a faith community that is supportive in these challenging times.”

Given his experiences abroad, it is understandable that Fr Heery’s ordination has provoked interest beyond the diocese and in a much wider, global audience.  Today’s ordination ceremony was recorded by the American public service broadcast television network CBS as part of a documentary it is preparing on the life of the Church in Ireland.

One of Fr Heery’s first tasks will be to share his story at a major faith gathering at the Meath Diocesan Eucharistic Congress next weekend.  The gathering, entitled ‘Come and See’, will take place in Navan and has already received a thousand reservations with more anticipated in the run up to the event.  The Meath Eucharistic Congress will feature 25 guest speakers from the world of spirituality, sport and music.  Their personal testimony will focus on the place of the Eucharist in their lives and how the celebration of the Mass can nourish the lives of parish communities.  The Navan event is organised to help parishioners prepare for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in the RDS and Croke Park, which will take place on 10 – 17 June 2012.


Notes for Editors

  • Photographs from today’s Ordination Mass in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar, are available from the Catholic Communications Office.  The Diocese of Meath has 107 priests in active ministry along with eight seminarians studying for the priesthood.  The diocese includes the greater portion of the counties of Meath, Westmeath and Offaly and a portion of counties Longford, Dublin and Cavan. The Patron Saint of the Diocese of Meath is Saint Finian (Feast day 12 December).
  • Father Kevin Heery attended St Mary’s Primary and Secondary School (1987-2000).  Fr Heery entered the seminary in Maynooth in September 2000.  Fr Heery took a break from his studies in 2005, after which he worked in the financial services in Dublin and later in Sydney.  His travels took him around Australia and South America before returning to the National Seminary, Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth, in 2009.  Kevin is a son of Mary and the late Frank Heery.  Fr Heery has one brother Anthony; his grandmother Annie Connell lives in Coole, while his extended family hails from Cullion and Coole, Co Westmeath.
  • Preparing for Kevin Heery’s ordination as a priest, the parish team at the Cathedral organised a Day of Prayer for Renewal, accompanied by a 24 hour fast, in solidarity with those who have suffered in childhood.  This vigil took place on 6 – 7 October, marking the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Various hours of the 24 prayer and fasting reflected on each of the mysteries of the Rosary.  Mass was offered during the night and day, with a candlelight Mass at midnight and a Mass of Hope and Thanksgiving was celebrated by Bishop Smith at the closing of the vigil.  Time was also be dedicated to prayers for vocations and inviting young people to prayer. The priests of Tullamore, Diocese of Meath, held a 24 hour fast for repentance and renewal on 25 and 26 August last.
  • To contact the Meath Diocesan Eucharistic Congress ‘Come and See’, phone John Howard on 0469021029 or 0872478519, email [email protected], also [email protected] or [email protected]  The full programme for the Meath Diocesan Eucharistic Congress is on /iec2012 and on Facebook: Diocese of meathiec
  • Information on the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 in Ireland is now available on   The first International Eucharistic Congress was held in France in 1881.  The person responsible for organising it was a lay woman, Emile-Marie Tamisier, following her 10 year campaign to persuade the Church authorities, including Pope Leo XIII, that Congress centred on the Eucharist should be held.  Ireland first hosted the International Eucharistic Congress in 1932 and it is now hosted in a different country every four years, the most recent being Quebec City in Canada in 2008.

Further information:

Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678