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Brother Ged Walsh Ordained Priest
27 January 2015


On Sunday 25th January 2015 York was the location for the first Carmelite friar to be ordained priest in the city since the Reformation.

Father Gerard (Ged) Walsh was ordained priest by Rt. Rev. Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough, at Our Lady’s Church in Acomb, during the parish celebration of Mass.

This was an historic moment for the Carmelite Order which first came to York in 1250. Until the suppression of Catholic religious orders at the Reformation in 1536, York was the administrative and training centre for the Carmelite Order of mendicant friars (begging brothers) in northern England.

The friars returned to the city in 1995 and today have pastoral care for chaplaincies at the University of York and York Hospital, as well as Our Lady’s parish since the start of this year. In addition to friars, York is home to communities of Carmelite enclosed nuns, active sisters, and lay people, all of whom took part in the liturgy, alongside clergy of Middlesbrough Diocese.

Brother Ged was particularly pleased to have been ordained priest by Bishop Terry, who had ordained him deacon at Thicket Priory in February 2013.

Bishop Terry with Brother Ged Walsh (centre), gathered alongside
local clergy and members of the Carmelite Family.

Father Ged is Catholic Chaplain at the University of York, and his ordination was attended by many past and present students and staff, as well as his ecumenical colleagues. Father Ged (37) is originally from The Wirral, and his family and friends were among the large congregation. Prior to entering the Carmelite Order, Ged was a radiographer in Liverpool, but gave up this promising career when he felt called by God to enter the religious life. He studied for the priesthood in Dublin, and Carmelite friars from Ireland and across Britain were present.

Father Ged’s ordination to the priesthood is the second to take place in Britain within the last few months, following that of Fr. Paul Jenkins at Aylesford Priory last October. The Prior Provincial of the Carmelites, Fr. Antony Lester, O.Carm., said: “At a time when vocations to priesthood and the religious life seem to be in decline in Europe, we Carmelites in Britain are very fortunate that God is sending us young men who are dedicating themselves to God’s service as friars. Ged will be a very fine priest, because he has a caring heart and good pastoral experience.” The ordination was attended by two young men who recently entered the Carmelite community as part of a new pre-novitiate programme.

Video footage
Click on the arrow in the YouTube box below, or view on the British Province's YouTube channel.

Photo reportage
For the full selection of images please visit the Province's Facebook and Flickr websites.

Carmelite Nuns from Thicket Priory and Corpus Christi Carmelite Sisters
took part in the celebration.

Bishop Terry welcoming the congregation,
especially Brother Ged's family and Carmelite Family.

Local clergy and visiting Carmelite friars were among the concelebrants.

Brother Ged began the Mass alongside his parents and relatives.

Brother James Hinchliffe proclaiming the Scriptures.

The Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Fr. Antony Lester, O.Carm., presenting Brother Ged to Bishop Terry as a candidate for ordination.

Bishop Terry's homily.

Our Lady's Church was full for the ordination Mass. The University of York, where Ged is Catholic Chaplain, was represented by the Deputy-Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Grenville and Registrar David Duncan (front right).

Bishop Terry preaching.

Bishop Terry spoke about the role of the priest in today's Church.

Brother Ged affirming his desire to be ordained priest.

In the hands of the bishop, Brother Ged
promised obedience to his Carmelite superiors.

The Bishop, candidate, and people at prayer during the Litany of the Saints.

The Litany of the Saints.

Brother Ged prostrate in prayer during the Litany of the Saints.

Fr. Damian Cassidy, O.Carm., who as Vocations Promoter was Ged's first point of contact with the Carmelite Order, led the singing of the Litany of the Saints.

Bishop Terry laying hands on Ged during the Rite of Ordination.

The Carmelite Provincial, Fr. Tony Lester, laying hands on Ged.

Fr. Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm., Ged's novice director, laying hands.

Fr. Bene O'Callaghan, O.Carm., of the Irish Province of Carmelites, laying-on hands.

Priests and Bishop gathered in prayer around Ged.

Bishop Terry saying the Prayer of Consecration over Brother Ged.

Father Ged was vested in his priestly vestments by
the Prior of York, Fr. Kevin Melody, O.Carm.

Bishop Terry anointing Ged's hands with the oil of chrism.

Bishop Terry presenting Ged with his paten and chalice
for the celebration of the Eucharist.

Bishop Terry sharing the sign of peace with Father Ged.

Ged receiving the sign of peace from Fr. Joseph Mothersill, O.Carm.,
who was Ged's Student Director in Dublin.

Ged receiving the sign of peace from Middlesbrough priest Canon Michael Ryan.

The newly-ordained receiving a round of applause from bishop and people.

Father Ged taking part in the Eucharistic Prayer as a priest for the first time.

Father Ged offering worship to God during the Eucharist Prayer.

Fr. Ged distributing holy communion to his father.

Local Lay Carmelites were among those at the celebration.

Fr. Antony Lester, Carmelite Provincial, thanked the parishioners of Our Lady's Church for their warm welcome to the Carmelites who have had pastoral care of the parish at the invitation of Middlesbrough Diocese since the start of the year.

Bishop Terence thanked the Carmelite Family in York for taking on the pastoral care of Our Lady's Church, and their other ministries in the city and region.

Bishop Terry imparting the final blessing.

Carmelites and clergy leaving the sanctuary at the end of Mass.

The superiors of the Corpus Christi Carmelite Sisters and Discalced Carmelite Nuns at Thicket Priory were among those taking part.

York Carmelite Spirituality Group was represented by local tertiaries
Angela Bergström-Allen and Miriam Purcell.

Carmelite friars united in song.

Father Ged greeting the congregation.

Among those who had travelled a long way to attend the ordination
were friends of Fr. Ged who volunteer with him in Lourdes.

Ged greeting friends from the charities CAFOD and HCPT,
with whom he has worked closely.

Ged being congratulated by Sr. Ann Stafford, C.J.,
Superior of the Bar Convent Community of the Congregation of Jesus.

Ged being congratulated by a member of York Carmelite Spirituality Group.

Ged with students involved with the University of York Chaplaincy.

Fr. Ged giving his first blessing to Sr. Gemma Simmonds, C.J.

Ged imparting a first blessing to fellow Carmelite Paul Jenkins
who was ordained priest at Aylesford Priory three months previously.

The Carmelite Provincial receiving Fr. Ged's first blessing.

Fr. Ged blessing a friend from London.

Ged's longest-standing friend, whom he has known since the age of 4,
was present at the Mass.

Fr. Ged with his family.

Ged relaxing after Mass with his Carmelite sisters from Thicket Priory.

Fr. Ged and his mother.

Friends signed a commemorative plate for Fr. Ged.

Fr. Ged giving a word of thanks after the ordination.

The Carmelite Provincial, Fr. Tony, congratulating Ged on his ordination.