Matthew Farrell, a native of Daingean, Co. Offaly, was ordained priest on Saturday, July 6, in St Saviour’s church, Dublin, by Archbishop Diarmuid Diarmuid Martin, of Dublin.
Present at the ceremony were his three sisters, Lorraine, Michelle and Natalie, with their families, and his brother David
and his family.
Father Matthew, aged 44, had a varied career before joining the Dominican Order in 2012. Immediately after secondary school, he worked in the bar trade in Tullamore and in his native Daingean. Attending Athlone Institute of Technology as a mature student, he gained a degree in applied chemistry, working for seven years as a laboratory analyst.
After the death of his father, he returned to Daingean to work in the family business with his brother. As a Dominican, he spent
a year in the noviciate in Cork before moving to the house of studies at St Saviour’s, Dublin, to study philosophy, Scripture and theology, in preparation for ministry as a priest.
He made solemn vows as a Dominican in September 2017. Later this summer, he will move to Co. Kerry, to join the Dominican community at Holy Cross church, Tralee, and to begin his ministry as a priest there.
Father Matthew explains that by the end of secondary school he had ceased going to Mass and practising the faith in which he had been brought up.
He continues: "When I was 24, my auntie brought me to a retreat which was run by a lay association called Youth 2000. This sparked within me an interest in religion in general, but it was not until I was 28 that I made a decision to re-commit myself to the practice of the Catholic faith."
"I started to go to Mass every Sunday, went to regular monthly confessions and got involved with a Youth 2000 prayer meeting which had started in Tullamore in the parochial house."
The outcome was, he explains, "I started to grow in my faith in the love and mercy of Jesus Christ and faith in the power of prayer and the sacraments to help me grow closer to God."
At the age of 37, after considering the possibility that he was being called to religious life, he entered the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), founded 803 years ago.
Preaching at the ordination Mass, Archbishop Martin said: “Ordination is not a distinction to be attained, but a gift to be received. Ministry in the church is never something through which I as an individual seek to promote myself. Celebrity ministry inevitably turns out to be celebration of myself alone and who I think I am."