What is the experience of being a priest today, serving in an ordinary parish, in a Church that is struggling to maintain its credibility? In a new six-part series, six men – some ordained more than 50 years ago, others not long out of the seminary – share their fears and concerns, their hopes and dreams
I left school when I was 16 and went to work in a factory. I thought now I was a working man, I didn’t have to go to Mass. But, somehow or other, the Lord gets his claws into you so, would you believe, I picked up a Bible and started reading.
I was working with people who didn’t know God. Didn’t want to know God. I wanted to be a “fisher of men” but I didn’t know how, as a factory worker. Then I saw a man being ordained who’d been a bus conductor. That was the turning point for me. I spent two years at St Mary’s College in Aberystwyth, because I had no “O” levels, then six at All Hallows in Dublin.
In my first parish, the church had crumbled because the priest hadn’t done any work on it for 16 years. But the congregation was amazing. You wouldn’t believe the money they gave to help.