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. Now in its fifth year, Holy Family Mission has enjoyed great success since its launch in 2016 when 10 young people between 18 and 30 signed up 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 mansion 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 in Holy Family Mission. 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.