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Many speak about the need for renewal and revival in the Church in Ireland. There are reports detailing the downturn in vocations to priesthood and religious life. Some orders are closing monasteries and convents and the congregation seem to be getting ever greyer.

Holy Family Mission in Kilsheelan, Clonmel is an answer to such great need and has enjoyed great success since its launch in 2016 with over 90 young people having joined them for a year of faith formation.

It began as a response to a desire planted in the hearts of Maura Murphy, Fr. Patrick Cahill and Pat Reynolds who, having worked with Irish young people for years, had seen massive potential in them for a deeper relationship with the Lord. The possibility of a place of formation where young people could come, not just for information but a real living experience of Christ.

It’s one thing to have an idea but a house, funds and support are essential practical concerns. But the Lord’s providence will never be exhausted. They approached Bishop Phonsie Cullinan as they had had some positive experiences with him in the past. He was very favourable to the idea but said we would need a property. “I’ve one in mind but I’ll need about three million euro to get it.” They met again on April 8th 2016 to clarify some details and the following day, true to form, the Lord provided. The Rosminian priest responsible for a beautiful picturesque retreat house “Glencomeragh House” called to say that they would be pulling out of there and offered the property to the diocese. This was exactly the property that Bishop Phonsie had had in mind! This beautiful house, built in 1820 boasting 4 modern hermitages was handed to the diocese for the use of Holy Family Mission.

Thus far, the Lord brought together a core team, a bishop and a property. But in this day and age who would come? It would be a very expensive venture if only 2 or 3 young people turned up. With short notice the team set about asking some of the young people they had encountered over the previous years if they would be interested in doing a year there. The national Youth 2000 festival was taking place that Summer too so they promoted it there and somewhat miraculously, they began the year with 10 wonderful young people.

Since then, they have gone from strength to strength with young people joining them from all over Ireland and abroad. They have seen many religious vocations to priesthood and religious life and others well prepared for marriage and are committed to doing whatever the Lord asks for the renewal of the Faith at home and abroad.


Holy Family Mission, working under the auspices of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore, was established in October 2016 as a response to the great hunger and desire in young people across Ireland to be formed in their faith in order to share it with others.

Holy Family Mission is made up of young, vibrant and joyful people who are engaged in this great adventure to know Him, love Him and serve Him.  How great is the need for new life in the Church in Ireland and for young people to courageously stand with the Lord whether it’s popular or not.

Our primary focus is setting young people on fire with love for Christ so that they can share Him with the world.


When we discover who Jesus is, how can we not share Him with others?

HFM is your opportunity to respond to your longing to be part of the renewal of the Church in Ireland, to come to know Jesus, love Him and serve Him. Through prayer, study, personal formation and community we learn to be all He has called us to be.

There is no greater and more important task than to bring the Lord into our aching world.

 “There can be no greater joy than to risk one’s life for the Lord!”
Pope Francis World Day of Prayer for Vocations – 2019

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