By Dan Walsh
In the homily preached by Fr Billy Swan, Administrator in Wexford Town Parish, at Sunday’s Episcopal Ordination of Fr Ger Nash as Bishop of Ferns there was a pride in the longevity of the diocese, but the Diocese of Ferns is facing into changing times.
Speaking to WexfordLocal.com Bishop Nash spoke of “a post-Covid changing world and a church that is changing hugely as we go on in time. He added; “Inevitably there will be changes because of the age structure of priests. In every diocese there are a lot more priests in the older age bracket and that is going to lead to change.”
Bishop Nash also wants “communities back together” and this will be achieved shortly. Parishes are beginning to set dates for Confirmation and he is adamant that “by the end of the month all of the children will be confirmed” as quickly as we can and as safely as we can within Government guidelines.
Fr Swan reminded the small congregation that in the 6th century, about 100 years after Christianity first came to Ireland, a young man arrived here in Enniscorthy from Scattery Island at the mouth of the River Shannon in Co Clare. There he founded a monastery and when he arrived in Wexford, he founded another settlement that became known as Teampeall Senáin or ‘the Church of Senan’ from which comes the name ‘Templeshannon’ that we have today. Saint Senan was a contemporary of Saint Aidan and they knew each other well.
Fr Swan continued; “Almost fifteen centuries later, another Clare man has arrived here, not on his own initiative, but in response to a call to come and serve as our bishop – to follow in the footsteps of Saint Senan and become the successor of Saint Aidan.
“It is difficult to contrast the world that must have awaited Senan as he arrived here in the 6th century to the ecclesiastical and social landscape today. In the words of the Gospel, Senan arrived here without purse, bread or haversack and many of the things that would have made his mission easier, from a worldly perspective. But while he lacked material things, he possessed a strong faith in the power of the Gospel that had changed lives everywhere since it first erupted in Jerusalem a few centuries earlier and spread west here to Ireland.”