The Diocese of Down and Connor warmly congratulates Father John O’Laverty who was ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Noel Treanor on Sunday 31 July, in Saint Patrick’s Church, Legamaddy.
Father John (30), a native of the parish of Bright, following his early studies in Saint Nicholas’ Primary School, Ardglass and Saint Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick, completed a degree in accountancy at Queen’s University Belfast in 2013. In 2015, John entered Saint Malachy’s Seminary, Belfast where he commenced his formation and preparation for the priesthood, studying scholastic philosophy.
In 2017, John was sent to the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, to continue his priestly formation, where he completed a degree in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University (2020) before continuing his training at the Venerable English College, Rome with post-graduate studies in the field of Canon Law.
Father John O’Laverty will return to Rome this September to complete his Licentiate studies in Canon Law. During the course of his priestly formation, John has also assisted in various parishes across the Diocese of Down and Connor.
At his Ordination ceremony yesterday, addressing Father John O’Laverty, his parents Elizabeth and Martin, his sisters Edel and Marie, wider family and friends, along with diocesan clergy and parishioners from the parish of Bright (Killough), Bishop Treanor said:
“For us all, members of the Body of Christ, coming from many different lands and backgrounds, it is a great joy to gather here in this church in Legamaddy in the parish of Bright, dedicated to Saint Patrick, for the Ordination of John O’Laverty.
Mindful of that long and living tradition of Christian faith and heritage, we all join joyfully in prayer for you and with you, John, on this the day of your Ordination to the priesthood of Jesus Christ for service in this Diocese of Down and Connor.
To you, Martin and Elizabeth, Fatherr John’s parents: on behalf of the faithful of our diocese – thank you for the gift of your son. May God reward you and your family.
On behalf of our local Church, I wish to acknowledge and thank all of you who accompanied, guided, inspired and encouraged John throughout the years of his training, study and formation. Your work is demanding as you guide seminarians in the ways of personal, spiritual, academic and pastoral growth. Please know that we are grateful to you. We pray God’s blessing on your vital service to the Church of tomorrow.
John, you have been called to priestly ministry as the Holy Spirit is stirring the Church with Pentecostal zephyrs, much like that first Pentecost experience in Jerusalem. Among the people of God many voices are to be heard. In this our time there is need for interpreters, for building of understanding and appreciation of the heart of faith in Christ. Rooted in the Word of God and in mystery of God incarnate in Jesus Christ may you ever listen to the heartbeat of all who meet you with Christlike empathy.
The famous Franciscan hagiographer, John Colgan (1592-1658), referred to this area, Lecale, as ‘triucha chead na soilse’, the territory of light. In this he drew on the account of Saint Patrick’s death, as related in the Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick:
“and for the space of twelve nights, whilst the divines were waking him with hymns, psalms and canticles, there was no light in Magh-Inis, but rather angelic light; some say there was light in Magh-Inis for the space of a year after Patrick’s death.”
With all of us, I pray that that ‘angelic light’ may inspire and guide you in your priestly ministry. May it pick you up, revive and refresh you in dark moments, when you feel you are but an earthenware jar and may it enlighten you to bring many to know God and ‘the deep things of God’. (1 Cor 2.10)’