Friar Damian Casey, OFM, Ordained to the Priesthood!

Damian with his parents.

On the eve of Good Shepherd Sunday, a day dedicated to prayer for vocations, the Franciscans in Ireland had the great joy of seeing our bother Damian ordained to the priesthood. Damian, from Waterford, is based in Ennis Friary, Co. Clare and has been working as a deacon in the Cathedral Parish in Ennis, as well as in the chaplaincy of a local hospital, since last September.

In this most unusual of years Damian has celebrated his ordination to the deaconate (September 8th 2020) and now ordination to the priesthood in very small, very socially distanced gatherings. If few could attend in church, hundreds participated through social media, supporting our brother Damian with their prayers.

In the past year we have all carried a burden of anxiety and uncertainty. There have been few moments of hope and few occasions to celebrate.  This ordination has certainly lifted our hearts as Franciscans! The ordination of our brother Damian speaks to us of God’s call to service and witness, a call which still goes out. It speaks to us of God’s enduring presence among us: we are not alone!

With his fellow friars: Vincent Finnegan, Liam Kelly and David Collins.

This year, Pope Francis’s Message for the Day of Prayer for Vocations is a reflection on St. Joseph as the “man of dreams”. St. Joseph made God his dream. The “inner ear” of his heart was attuned to God’s will and being a man of prayer and faith, his dreams were never in conflict with God’s will. Rather, St. Joseph discovered that his own deepest desire, his dreams, were perfectly fulfilled in God. His dream began to dovetail with God’s will, his desire was lived, more and more, against the widest possible horizon, that of God’s plan of redemption for the whole world!

St. Francis of Assisi, living centuries after St. Joseph, was another “man of dreams”. His youthful ambitions for glory on the battlefield, for honour and esteem among the nobility were exchanged for a greater dream still. St. Francis became known simply as the “Poverello”, the “poor little one”. And once again, in following God’s will, Francis of Assisi surpassed the dreams of his youth.

Each of us can ask ourselves: what are my dreams? What desires are shaping the days of my life? Are these dreams in tune with God’s will and are they lived against the horizon of God’s loving plan of salvation?

As we celebrate our brother Damian’s ordination, we friars thank God for making us dream big dreams, and for inviting us to make God the dream of our lives.

Friar Liam