The parish of Dysart had reason to celebrate when Fr Ciaran Clarke (32) was ordained a priest by Bishop Michael Smith at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar on Sunday 28 September 2014.
The new priest was joined in the ceremony by his parents Joe and Margaret Clarke, as well as over 50 priests and a large number of parishioners from Dysart and Mullingar. Also taking part in the ceremony was Fr Declan Kelly who was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Meath last Sunday.
Referring to the 75th anniversary of the Cathedral’s consecration, Bishop Smith noted that it was also 75 years since a priest from Dysart was ordained for the Diocese of Meath. “This is a sign of hope and a reason to celebrate” the Bishop said. “The Lord is always calling young men to be priests and Fr Ciaran is showing us that, in our own generation, parishes are continuing to provide examples of generosity and faith”. The Bishop reflected on the Sunday’s Gospel, where saying ‘yes’ to God and putting ‘yes’ into practice is praised by Jesus as the right thing to do.
Fr Clarke was an active member of his parish from a young age. He was an altar server in Dysart, where his mother is the church sacristan. He participated with the local ‘Lilliput Sports and Feis Committee’ which raised funds for the parish. The new priest has a keen interest in traditional Irish music and set dancing and became involved in Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ), actively participating on the committee at local level and county level.
After attending Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan Fr Clarke completed a Post Leaving Cert course in Business Studies/Information Technology and pursued further studies for three years in Athlone Institute of Technology. It was during his college years that he first started discerning a vocation to priesthood before changing direction to working as a hospital clerk in the medical records department at St Francis Medical Centre, Ballinderry.
He was accepted as a student for the Diocese of Meath and entered seminary in August 2007. Over the following years, Fr Clarke was assigned several parish placements in Mullingar, Trim and Tullamore.
Fr Clarke celebrated his First Mass in St Patrick’s Church, Dysart on Monday 29 September at 7.30pm.
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