Sunday 19 November 2017

Kevin takes 'radical option' to become our youngest priest

Bishop Michael Smith, left, with Fr Kevin Heery on his
ordination day in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, yesterday
Bishop Michael Smith, left, with Fr Kevin Heery on his ordination day in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, yesterday
Fr Heery performs his first blessing on Bishop Smith
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

HE is a former financial services adviser who took the "radical option" and joined the priesthood.

And the favourite moment yesterday of the ordination day of the country's youngest priest -- at just 28 -- was shared with his mum.

Fr Kevin Heery could not keep the smile off his face when his mother Mary placed his vestments on him and gave him a big hug -- to huge applause.

"One of my favourite moments from today was when ma was putting the priest's vestments on me. She gave me a hug and the whole place erupted into a round of applause. I couldn't stop smiling," he told the Irish Independent.

Fr Heery was ordained before hundreds of parishioners at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Mullingar, Co Westmeath. In his homily, Bishop of Meath Michael Smith said he could think of no more radical option a young man could take than to give his life in the name of Christ and at the service of others. Fr Heery was just 17 when he took the unusual step of entering the seminary in Maynooth.

However, five years later he decided to take a break from his studies and began working in the financial services sector in Dublin.

Like many his age, he decided he wanted to travel Down Under and transferred to the State Street bank offices in Sydney, Australia, before touring around South America.

"I took my time out mid-studies because I was thinking 'was it for me? Am I really ready for this?' I felt it was time to take a step back. What I thought would be a year out ended up being four," he said.

However he knew that "deep down" the priesthood was for him and he returned to the seminary two years ago and yesterday saw the culmination of his 11-year journey.

Fr Heery said he was looking forward to celebrating his first Mass in his native town this evening at 7.30pm and issued an open invitation for everyone to join him.

"I am really heartened by the huge support I've received from people, many of whom I never met before. It is a great encouragement to me starting out in the priesthood," he said.

Irish Independent

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