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armaghpriest
What's Your Story? - Being Pulled Towards God
by armaghpriest.com on April 8th, 2022

I am a member of a family of 13, I was brought up in the Catholic religion by my devout Catholic parents and as a result developed a strong faith. We were taught the morals of right and wrong. I lived at home in the small town of Coalisland and there I attended St Joseph secondary school for my education, then afterwards onto Dungannon Technical College where I learned my trade in carpentry and joinery. I worked as a joiner all my life and my brother and I set up our own kitchen and bedroom manufacturing business, which is still going after 30 years.

Throughout this time, I became a firefighter for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue service and provided 21 years of service to my community of Cookstown where I Live Today. I did a lot of voluntary work in Romania, helping others less off and in need of assistance in different villages and communities. Back in my home parish I worked as a sacristan in the church.

In my 20s I felt this sensation of God calling me and, on searching into it I was sent to the Columban Fathers in Navan, Dublin. After a few short stays with them I left and returned home. My life carried on and I was kept busy with other things. The world was big, and I wanted to see it. But this pulling sensation towards God had always been with me. So, in 2019 I visited a vocations director Father Peter mc Anenly in Armagh. I met with him over several months. He then sent me to Salamanca in Spain on a propaedeutic course. On returning home from Spain after six months, I had a meeting with Archbishop Eamon Martin to discuss the next step of my journey. It was decided that I should go to the Beda College in Rome, to study for the priesthood. If God is calling, we need to listen to him. We need to be open and generous in responding to the call in order to become messengers of God. I am simply following my heart and doing God's will.

I feel very lucky to have been given this gift of a vocation from God and will live it as best I can for as long as God allows. It has been a long road with many twists and turns that has brought me to this new and exciting place in my life, and it is surely a beacon of hope to those of any age that when the Lord calls if you say yes, he will do the rest and make it happen.

When I said yes to God, I started this journey when I was 59 years of age. With having left a desk and education behind me now for a number of years, I felt afraid of what lay ahead of the unknown and wondered why me. But when I started, I became more and more content and happier within myself and drawn closer to God, it has given me a purpose to my life. You must be open to yourself to be able to listen to God.

The Beda college in Rome where I am at present is mainly for late vocation to the priesthood it is a great place and helps to nurture and bring out your good points and values. The staff and students are very supportive.

I thank God for my family, friends and all the students and staff at the Beda College who are praying for me and especially for Archbishop Martin for his support, encouragement and belief in me on this stage of my journey.





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