THE great joy that surrounded the beautiful ceremony for the ordination to the priesthood of Reverend Patrick Lagan, on Sunday, was such that Bishop Francis Lagan felt moved at the end to express “a deep sense of satisfaction that something very good has happened here”.
St Patrick’s Church, in Glen, Maghera, was packed with family, friends, parishioners and well-wishers, as well as priests and religious from various parts of the Derry Diocese and beyond, for Patrick’s ordination by the retired auxiliary Bishop of Derry.
Quoting the Psalm “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad”, Bishop Lagan, who also comes from the Maghera area, said that it was, indeed, a great day of rejoicing for the people of the parish to see “one of their own ordained a priest”.
Welcoming all those present, especially Patrick’s parents, Gwen and Gerard, his sister, Catherine, Bishop Edward Daly, Monsignor Eamon Martin and Fr Paddy Doherty, PP, Maghera, Bishop Lagan spoke of his happiness at having the privilege to ordain Patrick in the beautiful St Patrick’s Church, where the 30-year-old had been baptized and made his First Holy Communion.
As the Rite of Ordination got underway, he spoke to Patrick about the strength of faith and perseverance he had shown in his preparation for the priesthood, and told him: “That faith and perseverance will stand you in good stead in the future, and may it inspire other young people in this parish and the surrounding area to follow your example.”
Remarking that Patrick came from an area which had produced a long line of priests, Bishop Lagan added that while the flow had slowed, Patrick’s ordination was a great source of hope and encouragement.
He went on to recall the great week Patrick had enjoyed at the International Eucharistic Congress, which had helped him to realize that the real essence of his ministry will be the celebration of the Mass.
Commenting on the negativity about the priesthood today, Bishop Lagan encouraged Patrick “to be joyful in what you do, knowing that you do Christ’s work”, and to have “a genuine love for the people you serve”.
Paying tribute to all involved in the ceremony and its preparation, he concluded that the ceremony had been “so well and beautifully organised that it could not but be such a lovely occasion”.
The Master of Ceremonies was the Very Reverend Francis Bradley, the director of music was Brendan McKenna and the cantor was Fr Edward Gallagher, CC Limavady. Deacon Rev Brendan Collins and Rev Raymond Donnelly, Deacon of the Clogher Diocese, also took part in the ceremony.
Describing his ordination as the happiest day of his life, Fr Lagan told ‘The Journal’: “I couldn’t believe the happiness and joy, it was overwhelming. The ordination rite, itself, was beautiful and I couldn’t thank all those involved enough.”
Looking forward to celebrating his first Mass the following night, in St Patrick’s Church, he said: “This is the culmination of seven years of hard work and I just feel such fantastic joy.”
Having been based in Limavady and then in the Waterside in his preparation for the priesthood, Fr Lagan is now awaiting news of where he is to be placed. In the meantime, he will be helping out where needed in different parishes.