Derry's bishop Donal McKeown defends sacrifice of celibacy at Co Tyrone ordination
A BISHOP has made a defence of celibacy during a homily about the changing role of the priest.
Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown was speaking at the ordination of Fr Christopher McDermott (30), from Strabane, in St Mary's Church, Melmount.
He said celibacy is "mocked in some quarters as being outmoded and unrealistic, a barrier to people entering ministry".
"But, like Elijah and the people in the Gospel, you have been called to leave behind many beautiful things, including marriage and fatherhood," he said.
"You answer the call, not because it is a lifestyle choice that you fancy but because you have been called to bear the marks of Christ in your body."
He added that the sacrifice should be matched with a "simplicity of lifestyle", and told him to "bear the pain and loneliness" and ensure his celibacy was "liberating".
Bishop McKeown also referenced the EU referendum, saying it was a challenging time for people in the Church and the wider world.
"We live in an era of fragmentation where fear seems to be driving people to build walls and not bridges... to recall what is perceived as our glory days of old," he said.
"....So, be prepared for a difficult journey in the service of Christ. The role of the priest is changing, not mainly because there are fewer of them but because the needs of the world have changed."