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God, not greed, is good for ex-Wall Street broker turned Dublin priest

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Brother Ultan Naughton at St Peter The Apostle In Neilstown

Brother Ultan Naughton at St Peter The Apostle In Neilstown

Brother Ultan Naughton at St Peter The Apostle In Neilstown

A WALL Street broker who turned his back on his high-flying career is training to enter the priesthood in a Dublin parish.

Ultan Naughton (38) worked for a number of years at a New York discount brokerage house.

But while many dream of bagging the big job and even bigger wage packet that is the norm in New York's financial district – it turned out to be a nightmare for Ultan.

"I didn't like the cut-throat environment on Wall Street where everyone was expected to just look after number one,'" he said.

"In Wall Street, I worked as a facilities manager responsible for helping open new offices around North America.

"People seemed to be just thinking of themselves and trying to protect their own patches by putting other people down," he said.

The Roscommon native had travelled to the US in search of work in the mid-1990s and got a job at a millionaires' beach club in Long Island, New York.

A club member later offered him a job at his Wall Street brokerage firm and he worked there for a year, living the life as a single young man in the city.

Still, Ultan found himself unable to settle.

When he later returned to Ireland, he found work with an insurance company and was promoted to the role of claims assessor.

But while many might envy a highly paid job in the insurance industry, Ultan said he found himself repelled by the greed of the Celtic Tiger economic boom.

"At the height of the Celtic Tiger boom, people seemed to be getting very selfish. There seemed to be a lot of greed and I didn't want to be part of it," he said.

"People seemed to be pre-occupied with themselves but I wanted to looked outwards to other people and, ultimately, to God.

"I loved the job and really enjoyed trying to help people, the vast majority of whom were very honest. "People would sometimes tell me I should have been a priest and it would pull at my heartstrings."

It was during his teenage years that Ultan had first thought about becoming a priest while a student at the Milltown Institute in Dublin.

He joined the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, but changed his mind after two years, just before he was due to take his first vows.

Having lost heart with the corporate world, Ultan eventually decided to re-join the religious order and a few years ago re-started his studies for the priesthood.

His journey was complete when, earlier this month, he was ordained a deacon in Neilstown church.

In November his lifelong ambition to become a priest will finally be realised.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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