Northern Ireland news

Fermanagh-born American priest celebrates 50th anniversary of Ordination

Fr Sean McManus, left celebrated the 50th anniversary of his Ordination in his native Fermanagh parish yesterday
Gareth McKeown

A PROMINENT Irish-American priest has celebrated Mass in his home parish on the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination.

Fr Sean McManus, the president of the Washington-based Irish National Caucus, preached at St Naile's Church in Kinawley to mark the special occasion and said "everything I am" he owed to his home parish.

"Today, I am, of course, very conscious of my ordination fifty years ago. But I am also very conscious of my Baptism, right here in this church 74 years ago," he told the congregation.

"It was here —like many of you —that I was baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; here I became a member of the Body of Christ, here I became a member of the Catholic Church, the sacrament of Christ on earth. Right here in this church. In St Patrick's, Killesher, I made my First Communion and received Confirmation.

"So, everything I am, my entire Catholic faith, my Catholic identity, and my Catholic ethos, I owe to the parish of Kinawley, to my family and relatives, to my neighbours in Clonliff, and to all the wonderful people of this parish. That is why my heart is never far from Kinawley," Fr McManus said.

In his address Fr McManus, who has served as a priest in the US since 1972, said the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination was about "giving thanks for the gift of Jesus Christ", without whom there would be no priesthood.

"Jesus is the Sacrament from which all other sacraments flow," he told the Fermanagh parish.

Fr McManus celebrated his ordination in Kinawley on September 1, 1968, but the date to mark the 50th anniversary was brought forward to accommodate travelling family members.

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