Ed20juneOn Sunday June 14th 1981, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, I prostrated myself before the Altar in the Church of Our Lady of Consolation, Donnycarney at the beginning of the ceremony of Ordination that was to launch me on a path that I still tread to this day. Beside me on the cold marble lay a classmate and fellow parishioner, Cyril Mangan, now based in Blanchardstown Parish.

In those days the tsunami of sexual abuse revelations had not yet broken shore, although the first rumblings of an approaching tempest were beginning. This was still the days of a church dominated by the clergy where the function of the laity could be summed up as, 'to pray, pay and obey'. Thankfully that clerical domination has all but been laid to rest, and the modern church , although slimmer and less certain of itself, is an altogether more real and human place to belong. The year I was ordained our Diocesan Seminary, Clonliffe was home to 101 seminarians with a healthy 12-15 being ordained each year. Today, Clonliffe no longer exists, and the building have been sold off to the GAA. There are just two seminarians studying for the Diocese and ordinations are few and far between. So much has changed in those years. The modern church is far more self-critical and open to question, it has learned bitter lessons from years of mishandling of abuse cases and blatant cover-ups.

Who could have foreseen saying Mass in an empty church to a webcam on the wall. We would probably have imagined a webcam to be some gizmo to record the secret lives of spiders. Change has come and we simply have been forced to embrace it, or to fade away into oblivion.

Several people have asked me the question this week 'Would you do it all again?' And the honest answer is yes, 100% Life as a priest has been a true adventure, not at all what I had imagined it to be, and in these past forty years I have often been surprised by the strange and exciting paths the Holy Spirit has led me down. It hasn't been all sweetness and light but whose life is? There are always moments of doubt, uncertainty and struggle, but on balance it has been a fulfilling and enriching journey ministering to people. There have been many privileged moments of sharing people's moments of profound joy and intense sorrow of laughter and tears, and for all of these I give thanks.

I'm past the full flush of youth as I approach my 70's, and whether I like it or not am growing old, but it's been a great journey thus far, and to quote Magnus Magnusson of Mastermind fame ' I've started, so I'll finish' (With God's help.)
Fr. Philip Curran
St. Mary's Lucan

June 19, 2021 - 2:50pm

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