Friday, August 19, 2022


A LOCAL man was ordained to the Priesthood on Sunday at St Patrick’s Church, Legamaddy, and celebrated his First Mass in Thanksgiving on Monday evening at the same church. Father John O’Laverty is a 30- year-old native of the parish of Bright. He is a past pupil of St Nicholas’ Primary School, Ardglass and St Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick. He completed a degree in accountancy at Queen’s University Belfast in 2013. The Diocese of Down and Connor has said it congratulates Fr O’Laverty on this momentous occasion. During the course of his priestly formation, he assisted in various parishes across the Diocese of Down and Connor. In 2015, Fr O’Laverty entered St Malachy’s Seminary, Belfast, where he commenced his formation and preparation for the priesthood, studying scholastic philosophy. Two years later, he was sent to the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, to continue his priestly formation, where he completed a degree in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University before continuing his training at the Venerable English College, Rome, with post-graduate studies in the field of Canon Law. Fr O’Laverty will return to Rome this September to complete his Licentiate studies in Canon Law. Fr O’Laverty’s parents Elizabeth and Martin, his sisters Edel and Marie, wider family and friends, along with diocesan clergy and parishioners from the parish of Bright, were on hand to witness Fr O’Laverty’s ordination ceremony on Sunday. Fr Martin Graham gave the homily during the ceremony and shared some of his memories of John growing up in a family of faith. “As John’s neighbour, albeit half a mile away, I have seen John grow and I have seen from where John has grown. It takes a diocese and more to rear a priest. It takes a diocese, it takes a parish, it takes a family,” he said during the homily. “Baptism is that first transmission of faith and from that moment in Saint Joseph’s in Killough, faith was transmitted to John through his parents, his grandparents and other family members, by their actions as well as by their words. Saint Francis of Assisi said: ‘Preach the Gospel and if necessary, use words’. “Yes, Martin and Elizabeth certainly instructed John on the beliefs of the Catholic faith but I would imagine it was the living of that faith that made the greater impression on him. Sunday Mass and family prayers are not great, earth-shattering events; they are quiet, routine, even mundane but, day by day, week by week, they give us a sense of the presence of God in our lives, in our family home and situations, in the good times and in the bad. “The last line of the Gospel says, ‘It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit.’ May God richly bless John and his ministry so that John may bear much fruit, and by his life, give grace, blessing, consolation, hope, and peace to God’s people and ultimately give glory to the Father whom he has been called, by name, to serve and make known in the priesthood of Jesus Christ,” Fr Graham said. Bishop Noel Treanor, who ordained Fr O’Laverty, also paid tribute to the faith of Fr O’Laverty’s parents, family and educators during the ceremony. “To you, Martin and Elizabeth, Fr John’s parents: on behalf of the faithful of our diocese – thank you for the gift of your son. May God reward you and your family,” Bishop Treanor said. “On behalf of our local Church, I wish to acknowledge and thank all of you who accompanied, guided, inspired and encouraged John throughout the years of his training, study and formation. Your work is demanding as you guide seminarians in the ways of personal, spiritual, academic and pastoral growth. Please know that we are grateful to you. We pray God’s blessing on your vital service to the Church of tomorrow.” He also had special words of encouragement for Fr O’Laverty as he embarks on this new venture. “John, you have been called to priestly ministry as the Holy Spirit is stirring the Church with Pentecostal zephyrs, much like that first Pentecost experience in Jerusalem. Among the people of God many voices are to be heard. “In this our time, there is need for interpreters, for building of understanding and appreciation of the heart of faith in Christ. Rooted in the Word of God and in mystery of God incarnate in Jesus Christ may you ever listen to the heartbeat of all who meet you with Christlike empathy. “The famous Franciscan hagiographer, John Colgan (1592-1658), referred to this area, Lecale, as ‘triucha chead na soilse’, the territory of light. “With all of us, I pray that that ‘angelic light’ may inspire and guide you in your priestly ministry. May it pick you up, revive and refresh you in dark moments, when you feel you are but an earthenware jar and may it enlighten you to bring many to know God and ‘the deep things of God’. (1 Cor 2.10).”

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