The son of an Irish emigrant from Connemara was ordained a deacon in Maynooth on Sunday and is expected to be ordained to the priesthood in Tuam next year.
Twenty-eight-year-old Shane Sullivan, a native of Minnesota in the US midwest was ordained in St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, having arrived in Ireland four years ago. He is due to be ordained to the priesthood on Sunday, June 3 in Tuam Cathedral and intends to celebrate his first Mass as gaeilge in Cill Chiaráin Church in Connemara, the home village of his father Bart, on June 4.
When he arrived in Ireland in 2008, he did not have a word of Irish but is now a hugely enthusiastic and interested speaker of the native tongue. Rev Sullivan only came to Ireland once before when he was 16 and said he immediately fell in love with the country and the people.
After deciding he wanted to become a priest when he was in his early 20’s he spent a number of years studying in Minnesota before travelling to Ireland.
“I remember reading a couple of articles when I was studying in the States about the troubles that the Irish church is having and it really moved me and inspired me to come out and help out, even the little bit that I am able to contribute to the renewal of the church in this country.
“There’s plenty of other challenges to being a priest in Ireland right now in winning people’s trust back after the scandals and re-establishing a bit of integrity,” he said.
Rev Sullivan will be also be ordained in June alongside Rev Eugene O’Boyle, a native of Claremorris who was ordained a deacon last summer. Once ordained both priests will be assigned to parishes in the Tuam dioceses.