On Sunday 25th January York was the location for the first Carmelite friar to be ordained priest in the city since the Reformation.
Father Gerard (Ged) Walsh was ordained priest by Rt. Rev. Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough, at Our Lady’s Church in Acomb, during the parish celebration of Mass.
This was an historic moment for the Carmelite Order which first came to York in 1250. Until the suppression of Catholic religious orders at the Reformation in 1536, York was the administrative and training centre for the Carmelite Order of mendicant friars (begging brothers) in northern England.
The friars returned to the city in 1995 and today have pastoral care for chaplaincies at the University of York and York Hospital, as well as Our Lady’s parish since the start of this year. In addition to friars, York is home to communities of Carmelite enclosed nuns, active sisters, and lay people, all of whom took part in the liturgy, alongside clergy of Middlesbrough Diocese.
Father Ged is Catholic Chaplain at the University of York, and his ordination was attended by many past and present students and staff, as well as his ecumenical colleagues. Father Ged (37) is originally from The Wirral, and his family and friends were among the large congregation. Prior to entering the Carmelite Order, Ged was a radiographer in Liverpool, but gave up this promising career when he felt called by God to enter the religious life. He studied for the priesthood in Dublin, and Carmelite friars from Ireland and across Britain were present.
Father Ged’s ordination to the priesthood is the second to take place in Britain within the last few months. The Prior Provincial of the Carmelites, Fr. Antony Lester, O.Carm., said: “At a time when vocations to priesthood and the religious life seem to be in decline in Europe, we Carmelites in Britain are very fortunate that God is sending us young men who are dedicating themselves to God’s service as friars. Ged will be a very fine priest, because he has a caring heart and good pastoral experience.” The ordination was attended by two young men who recently entered the Carmelite community as part of a new pre-novitiate programme.
|Fr. Ged is blessed by Bishop Terry Drainey, Middlesborough|
|Fr. Ged concelebrates at his first Mass|
|Fr. Ged is congratulated by Matt Betts (Development Manager) and his wife, Terri and son, Joseph.|
All photos, copyright Order of Carmelites.