Meet the youngest ‘parish priest’ in Ireland

Meet the youngest ‘parish priest’ in Ireland August 25, 2019

You might be surprised — I was — to learn his age is 32.

I gather that a “parish priest” is the equivalent of a pastor. It’s unclear to me — maybe someone else knows? — if “Ireland” here refers only to Northern Ireland (although our friends at Wikipedia helpfully point out that all the dioceses in Northern Ireland belong to the ecclesial province of Armagh and are part of the Episcopal Conference of Ireland.)

UPDATE: A priest from Ireland wrote to say a “parish priest” is an administrator, not a pastor — an important canonical nuance.

From Belfast Telegraph

A former pupil of Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, and St Malachy’s College on Belfast’s Antrim Road, Fr Conor studied history and philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast.

As well as training at St Malachy’s Seminary, he read theology at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome and was ordained in July 2012 at St Bernard’s Church, Glengormley.

A keen cyclist who has also been known to hit the dance floor for charity contests, he says being Ireland’s youngest parish priest is simply “a sign of the times”.

“There are challenges as in every walk of life, in particular continuing to connect with the people of our parishes and building up a sense of closeness to God.

“It’s also about building up connections with those of other faiths in our communities as we’re all part of the same team, if you like,” he says.

“For me it’s a very rewarding and privileged position with great opportunities that I’m very excited about.

“I certainly don’t regret my decision.

“I know of young men, even in the parish where I was ordained, who have been willing to give the priesthood a go.

“It hasn’t worked out for all of them but it shows that the well isn’t completely dry,” he adds.

In his new role in Glenravel, Fr Conor will serve as the administrator of The Braid and provide chaplaincy services to schools in Ballymena and St Killian’s College in Carnlough.

Read it all. And watch the video interview from the BBC below.

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