Everybody can have a hand in transforming society, according to Dingle Parish Priest Fr Michael Moynihan, who celebrates 25 years in the priesthood this week.
Fr. Michael, whose silver jubilee was on Tuesday, told The Kerryman this week that, “if everyone gave one hour a week for something outside of themselves, the world would be transformed”.
He is confident that the Christian message provides a way for people “to live life to the full” by taking part in “good works and prayer”. In a world where people spend more time on electronic devices the greatest challenge facing society is “the growth of ‘individualism” according to Fr. Michael.
Born in Rathmore, Fr. Michael started his studies for the priesthood in Maynooth in 1990. Since being ordained he has served in parishes in the Kerry Diocese before coming to Dingle in 2019. In recent years he has also assumed responsibility for the parishes of Annascaul and Inch because the number of people now joining the priesthood in Ireland is insufficient to replace those who have retired.
As the sole priest in charge of Dingle and Annascaul parishes, Fr. Michael is responsible for the pastoral care of six churches, two secondary schools, one hospital and nursing homes in the area. There is a lot of work to do but Fr. Moynihan is keenly aware that the contribution made by Cathy Griffin and the other parish secretarial staff is immense.
Although his life so far as a priest has coincided with a torrid time for the Catholic Church in Ireland, Fr Michael has no regrets over his vocation. “Not a single regret on the choice, there have been hard days, but through it all is a contentment,” he says.
After 25 years as a priest he feels his has only just started his work, which he describes as, “to bring others to God and God to others”
On Friday evening a celebration, organised by Dingle Parish Council, will mark the milestone in Fr Michael’s life, beginning with Mass in St, Mary’s church at 6.15pm, followed by refreshments in a marquee in the presbytery grounds.