Bishop praises role of priests in Berkeley tragedy

Bishop says role of priests in offering solace created positive image of clergy

Fr Aidan McAleenan, a pastor in St Columba’s parish in California became the “accidental voice of a broken Irish community”, according to Kathy Sheridan.

Fr Aidan McAleenan, a pastor in St Columba’s parish in California became the “accidental voice of a broken Irish community”, according to Kathy Sheridan.

 

The recent Berkeley tragedy which claimed the lives of six young people highlighted the central role that priests can play in providing comfort and solace for the bereaved, a bishop has told the ordination mass of a priest in Co Cork.

Bishop William Crean of Cloyne said that it was encouraging to see a positive portrayal of priests in the midst of the tragic loss of life in Berkeley after years of negative media portrayal of the clergy because of the child sex abuse scandals.

“The recent tragic deaths of the young people with the collapse of the balcony in Berkeley California led to a natural outpouring of sympathy for their families as they mourned the loss of their son or daughter in the springtime of their lives.

“Hope and aspiration gave way to the sense of huge loss and despair that such a tragedy brings to life. We remember them in our prayers as we also remember so many whose lives and dreams are being shattered by war and terror.

“I recall this tragic event and its aftermath for the presence of so many priests who at various moments were available and willing to minister to these families at a time of desolation for them and sought to bring some consolation by being with them in their hour of need.

“Given the very negative media portrayal of the priesthood because of the abuse scandals it is heartening to read a journalist - Kathy Sheridan in The Irish Times - acknowledge that positive face of priesthood.”

Bishop Crean made his comments in his homily at the ordination mass of Fr Eamon Roche at St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh on Sunday where the 44 year old from Castlemartyr in Co Cork became the newest addition to the clergy in the Cloyne diocese.

Fr Roche taught Mathematics and Science at Christian Brothers Secondary School in Cork from 1996 until 2000 when he left to work in the IT sector in Cork city where he spent the best part of a decade before entering the seminary at Maynooth in 2009.

Bishop Crean told Fr Roche that he must apply his energies now to the duty of teaching in the name of Jesus Christ and put into practice what he teaches in his work as pastor to the community.

“You will have no illusions from your years spent in formation how challenging this task will be. However, you are well acquainted with the world of commerce and technology so you will bring those skills and insights to your ministry,” said Bishop Crean.