Friday 20 September 2019

Celebrations as new priests are ordained

Pictures: Pat O'connor DAVID MEDCALF

ST. AIDAN'S Cathedral in Enniscorthy provided the setting as two new reverends were added to the strength of the priesthood for the Catholic diocese of Ferns at the weekend.

James Cullen from Screen in the parish of Castlebridge and Patrick Duffy from Newcastle in County Wicklow emerged into the sunshine as fully fledged priests after they were ordained by Bishop Denis Brennan during a two hour ceremony.

Family and friends gathered in the church to offer their prayers, support and best wishes to the pair, who spent years of study in preparation for Sunday's service.

James Cullen, now Father James Cullen is the youngest of eleven children born to Margaret (née Scallan from Kiltealy) and the late Tom Cullen from Screen. Now in his thirties, his journey to the priesthood did not begin until seven years after he left school.

He spent a while on the staff of Enniscorthy computer technology firm Datapac and rose through the ranks from being the boy in the storeroom to holding down a well paid position as a salesman. Still, he realised that there was something missing from his life.

The idea of being a priest had been dormant in James from the age of seven and it re-surfaced in Melbourne where he worked behind a bar while taking time off in Australia. He contacted director of vocations Father Jim Finn on his return to Ireland and was dispatched to Maynooth College in 2005.

During his seven year apprenticeship for holy orders, he earned degrees not only in theology but also in philosophy and anthropology. Father James said his first Mass back in his home parish on Monday and now awaits an appointment to a parish from Bishop Brennan.

The ordination of two new priests – Reverend James Cullen and Reverend Patrick Duffy - in Enniscorthy's St. Aidan's Cathedral on Sunday came more than two centuries after the first such ceremony in Enniscorthy.

The record shows that Reverend James Warren Doyle was ordained on October 1, 1809 in the freshly thatched old cathedral by Dr. Patrick Ryan of Dublin. Four years earlier, Enniscorthy had become a mensal parish with Archbishop Ryan as pastor.

James Doyle was son of farmer James Ryan from Donard or Ballinvegga and Ann Doyle (née Warren) from Loughnageera. He was actually born after his father's death and he went on to become Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in 1819. He died at the age of 48 and lies interred opposite the altar of Carlow cathedral.

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