Spiritans ordain first priest in Ireland for 17 years

Hong Kong-born Samson Mann (56) converted to Catholicism in his late teens

 Samson ‘Sam’ Mann was ordained a Spiritan priest at a service in the Holy Spirit Church, Kimmage Manor. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Samson ‘Sam’ Mann was ordained a Spiritan priest at a service in the Holy Spirit Church, Kimmage Manor. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

 

The first ordination of a Spiritan priest in 17 years took place on Sunday in Dublin.

The Spiritans run five high profile schools; Blackrock College, St Mary’s College, Templeogue College, and St Michael’s College in Dublin, and Rockwell College in Co Tipperary.

The religious congregation, also known as the Holy Ghost Fathers, had not ordained a new priest in Ireland since 2001.

On Sunday, Samson “Sam” Mann was ordained at a service in the Holy Spirit Church, Kimmage Manor.

The ceremony was conducted by Bishop Denis Wiehe of Port Victoria diocese in the Seychelles.

Rev Mann is 56-years old and was born in Hong Kong, and converted to Catholicism in his late teens. He later attended the Spiritan-run Neil McNeil High School in Toronto, Canada.

He moved to Ireland in 1987 to join the Irish Province of the Spiritans.

Around three years later he “suspended” his journey to the priesthood, which he would later pick back up in 2011, he told The Irish Times in a recent interview.

The Irish province of the Spiritans was opened in 1859. In recent days the congregation also elected Fr Martin Kelly as the new provincial, who will serve as head for a three year term starting in September. Fr Kelly (71) previously spent nearly 30 years as a missionary in Ethiopia.