The following article was published in the Offaly Independent and copied here with permission.
He may have chosen the religious life, but Tullamore’s newest recruit to the priesthood Noel Weir says that the skills learned in his former career as a mechanic still come in handy on occasion.
The 39-year-old Clonminch native, who is busy preparing for his ordination on December 6, told the Offaly Independent that although he first thought about becoming a priest while still in primary school, his life took a different path.
“I did my Leaving Cert and I trained to become a motor mechanic and did that for about eight years. I then travelled to America and Australia for a few years. When I came back I did further study and worked in Intel.”
Although he always had a strong faith, for which he thanks his family and primary school teachers, he says that it was in the last decade that he realised that he had a “calling to diocesan priesthood”.
Since being ordained as a Deacon six months ago, Rev Noel has been based in Navan Parish. Enjoying his life in Meath, he believes that his experiences before entering St Patrick’s Seminary in 2009 have helped him in his pastoral work.
“I think it can help to get life experiences. It’s definitely helped me. There are guys that started in the seminary straight from school and there are guys that are of a more advanced age. I’m somewhere in the middle and that seems to be the case for the majority of seminarians,” he notes.
As for skills accrued in his previous careers, the soon to be Fr Noel says that he is not averse to putting on his mechanic’s overalls every now and then. “I still service my car, or if something happens I will try and fix it within reason.”
His Ordination Mass, the first in the Church of the Assumption since Rev Tony Gonoud’s in 2007, will be celebrated by the Most Rev Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath. Fr Joe Gallagher PP says that excitement is building amongst Rev Noel’s fellow parishioners.
“This is a parish event. From choirs to hospitality, many people have given their time and energy for this day. This is not only a most special occasion in Noel’s life, it is also a parish celebration. Vocations come from the lived faith of the community. It is a testament to Tullamore Parish that three ordinations (Rev Seamus Hoolihan was ordained in 1995) have taken place here in relatively recent times.”
Rev Noel will offer his First Mass of Thanksgiving on Monday, December 7, the Vigil Mass of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
A combined choir will provide the music for the Ordination Mass. Music for the first Mass is provided by the Le Cheile choir. It will be followed by a parish reception in St Mary’s Youth Centre.