Around 400 people have gathered at St Columb’s Cathedral in Derry for the ordination into the priesthood of Catherine Simpson.
Catherine is a third year student with the Theological Institute in Dublin and will spend the coming year as a deacon intern with Reverend Colin Welsh in Castledawson.
As well as completing her studies, Catherine will write a dissertation and assist in all areas of ministry in preparation for her life as a parish priest.
Catherine was joined by her parents Samuel and Vida, sister Sarah, and extended family and many friends at the service in Derry on Sunday.
There was a strong representation from her home church of Portglenone and St Colmannels, Ahoghill and many well wishers from the diocese of Derry and Raphoe.
The Rev Gary Miller (Portglenone Parish), Bishop Pat Storey (Bishop of Meath and Kildare), Mr Samuel Simpson (father) and Mr Alan Williamson (friend) undertook the role of sponsors during the service.
All the sponsors were said to have played a key role in encouraging and supporting Catherine to make the decision to become ordained.
Rev Colin Welsh (Castledawson), Ven Barry Dodds (retired archdeacon of Belfast) and Sarah Simpson (sister) read the Bible passages, and the preacher at the service was Rev Diane Matchett (Rector of Castlerock) who told those present that the service was a reminder that everyone had a role to play in the body of Christ, not just clergy.
Following the installation there were refreshments and speeches of welcome in the St Augustine’s parish hall.
Over the last 12 years, Catherine has been a teacher in Lisburn, Ballymena and most recently McKinney Primary School in Dundrod where she was vice-principle.