Fr Jim Purcell, PP Thurles, lays his hands on the head of Fr Niall during the ceremony.
Thurles man Rev Fr Niall O Riordan, Rathmanna, Thurles was ordained in the Bascilica of St Paul Outside the Walls in Rome this morning, Friday, by Cardinal E Mauro Piacenze amid scenes of great joy and celebration.
Fr Niall was joined by his parents Dan and Imelda, his brothers Raymond, David and James, his sister Anne, aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives and friends in what was a very emotional ceremony in the Eternal City on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The ceremony was conducted entirely in Italian with the 200 strong Irish contingent availing of the services of a translator for most of the ceremony. However, there was a real surprise in store after Communion when the choir sang A Mhuire Mhathair in special recognition of the Irish presence.
Fr Niall, a former vet in Coolmore Stud, was joined by friends from school, from his college days, from Thurles Sarsfields, the club with which he hurled and played football for many years, neighbours and friends from around the globe as he accepted the call to the priesthood. And, he was also joined by the PP of Thurles, Rev Fr Jim Purcell, the former Adm. of Thurles, Rev Fr Martin Hayes, and Rev Fr Vincent Stapleton, all of whom participated in the ceremony during the Laying of Hands and the welcome and acceptance into Holy Orders of all the priests present.
There too for the ceremony was Fr Paul Cahill, a native of Thurles and of the same Order into which Niall has been Ordained. The Order was established by Fr Paul Maria Sigl, who was present and who extended a warm welcome into the brethren of the former pupil of Scoil Ailbhe CBS Primary School, and St Josephs College, Borrisoleigh. Mass was also offered in Scoil Ailbhe this morning for Fr Niall.
Cardinal Piacenza, in his Homily spoke of the need for others to take up the call to the Priesthood stating that never more than now were labourers required to do the work of God.
The beautiful celebration was followed by an afternoon of joy as Fr Niall and his family shared a meal with guests. His First Mass will be celebrated tomorrow Saturday in a Church in the Vatican and he will celebrate his first Mass in Ireland in the Cathedral of the Assumption in January.