Sports-loving Tipperary priest uses hurling to encourage vocations
Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter have become commonplace for the church in recent years to get God's message across.
However, a novel idea by a Clonmel based priest promoting vocations in the diocese of Waterford & Lismore generated huge interest from his local parishioners ahead of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final between Tipperary and Kilkenny.
A huge blue and gold poster promoting vocations was been erected in the car park outside Saint Mary's Parish Church in Irishtown in Clonmel bearing the logo, Become a member on the panel of our championship-winning parish team.
According to parish priest Fr Bill Meehan the idea came to him one day in a 'light bulb moment' as a way of promoting vocations. The poster says, “You too can be part of a winning team” just like Lar Corbett, Eoin Kelly and the rest of the Tipperary team. It also says that for “success due to teamwork and team spirit-join the priesthood team in our diocese.”
Speaking about the poster Fr Meehan says that it has attracted huge interest from locals and “as a direct result of the poster or not, “we've one fella gone up to Maynooth national seminary to enrol in studies for the priesthood this year.”
However Fr Meehan's tie up with the hurling theme does not end there.
Inside the church he presents the work of the parish's children's liturgy group which is presented in the form of a display of photographs where young children have written prayers asking God to keep the players safe ahead of the All-Ireland hurling final.
Interestingly, one of the other Clonmel parishes also had an interesting connection with the All-Ireland.
Saint Peter & Paul's curate Fr Ray Reidy won an All-Ireland Senior Hurling medal with Tipperary in 1958 and is a brother in law of the late Senator and eight -times All-Ireland winner John Doyle. Both priests attended the All-Ireland following their celebration of the Sunday liturgy but regrettably, they returned home disappointed.
by Sean Ryan