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For my Wexford Friends

na SéipéilWexford is known for its "Twin Churches" and Friary. The Twin Churches were built in 1858 by the then Parish Priest Fr. James Roche at a very difficult period for Catholics. Catholic emancipation had just been granted in 1829 and Catholics now felt free at last to project themselves. So not one but two churches were planned and built on the rising ground looking over the town. Fr. Roche died 1883.

I have only now learned that Fr. James Roche had a brother, Fr. Johnny (1827-1924), who was a member of the Franciscan Community and was very popular in the town.
Photo shows Twin Churches with Friary between.

             Fr. James Roche                Fr. Johnny Roche OFM, brother of Fr. James Roche, d. 1924
                        Fr. James Roche                            Fr. Johnny Roche OFM


Father Johhny lived a good long life!

The Catholic priest in Orkney, Father Ronnie, whom we came to know, soldiered well on into his eighties because not many people want to be pastor to a tiny flock in an overwhelmingly Protestant community with the additional problem of a bunch of Lefebvrite Transalpine Redemptorist monks causing problems on one of the outer islands. They have since made their peace with Rome, but I didn't envy Father Ronnie the task of keeping his flock onside as they were very much into proselytising at one point and caused a lot of bad feeling between Catholic and Protestant on the islands.
The Franciscans did great underground work in Wexford after Cromwell laid the place bare. They have always been held in high esteem. But they themselves are now decimated in numbers and may not be able to continue to support a Community in the town having been here for hundreds of years. The times they are a-changing.
You hear so many stories about young ones not wanting to become priests or religious even in largely Catholic places like Italy and Spain. I can't imagine any young priest wanting Ronnie's job. Another retiree has taken over- quid pastor, semper pastorem I guess! :o)

Is the insistence on celibacy becoming a real issue, do you think?
Many priests would say "Yes" to that. All three traditional vows taken by religious are having a rough passage nowadays. Poverty? Most religious have a personal bank account! Obedience? Many religious, although still members of some religious order, are now living on their own in apartments far from a Community! Celibacy? We have recently seen where that has been! Vocations to Religious Life are plentiful enough in places like Africa but where would the three traditional vows be in that culture? Priests having wives and families would be an impossible reality in the Catholic Church as we now have it.
Did not the pope invite Anglican clergy to come in and bring their wives?
Would not a "part time" clergy solve some of the problems of having enough priests to celebrate Mass?
And why not female clergy? All those women who are already administering parishes and serving as lay ministers reading and distributing communion.

There is historical evidence that once upon a time there were female clergy. Celibacy is recent in the history of the church.
The Spirit answers the needs of the people. It is already happening.
Legitimately ordained women. Married priests serving communities.
It's only a matter of time.
Married clergy and their families would create great difficulties for the Church as organized at present. Tradition holds that Christ appointed only men as priests.
It reminds me of the banner that was hung at a workshop I attended
"If you always do what you've always done you will always get what you've always gotten. Do you want that?"

The church has a need. The people of God have a need. If we trust in the Spirit the way to meet the need will arise.

Organization is a practical response to a given situation. The requirement for celibacy was a response in part to the problem of a land based economy . There are models as to how a married clergy can be accommodated. Orthodox communities. Protestant communities. The problem is practical and not insoluble.

What was socially the norm two thousand years ago does not have to be the pattern for the 21st century. Peter was married. The first pope was married. Does that establish a "tradition"? Should all popes be married?

Priesthood is a charism. Do we limit God and say he can only give that charism to particular people the the official church approves of?
What branch of Franciscans were/are they?
The 'Brown' Franciscans or Friars Minor(OFM). Today there are also: the OFM Conv (Grey Friars), the OFM Cap (Capuchins)and the Third Order.

In the photo Fr. Johnny is dressed in normal clerical clothes because of the difficulties of the times when religious orders were banned in Ireland.
Thank you.
I've known people in all the branches.
The "Brownies" still have a friary there then.