Patrick Lagan says he has wanted to be a priest from an early age.
Ahead of his ordination at St Patrick’s Church, Maghera, this Sunday (3 p.m.), Patrick told the ‘Journal’ he was “very much looking forward to the opening up of a new chapter” in his life.
Patrick has, for the past number of months, been based in the city’s Waterside where he’s been “shadowing” parish priest, Rev. Michael Canny.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor than Fr. Canny,” he said. “Before that I was based in Limavady with Monsignor Bryan McCanny who I also learned a great deal from. Both men are very experienced priests and, as such, I’ve been very lucky. They have both been extremely kind and very encouraging.”
Turning to Sunday’s ordination, he said: “I’m excited, a little bit nervous but really looking forward to it.”
Patrick is also keen to point out that he hasn’t allowed anything - not even a speech impediment - to prevent him from achieving his goal.
“Growing up, I had a pretty bad stammer, particularly during my teenage years. Sometimes I thought to myself, how can you ever hope to be priest when you have a speech impediment. However, I never lost faith and when I took part in the McGuire Programme - a specialist project which aims to help you control your stammering - it changed my life and I have never looked back since.”
Derry’s Diocesan Administrator Monsignor Eamon Martin says he’s delighted to welcome Patrick “as a brother priest into the Diocese of Derry”.
“I am also so pleased to be able to share this joy in a special way with the people of County Derry,” he added. I would encourage all the faithful in the Diocese to pray for vocations that the Lord will send more labourers into his harvest.”