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Newbridge priest to say first mass tonight

Special Ceremony

Newbridge priest to say first mass tonight

David Vard from Newbridge at his special ordination ceremony in St. Conleths Church yesterday, June 25.

Ireland's youngest priest, and a Newbridge native, will say his first mass this evening.

David Vard from Athgarvan was ordained to the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin in a special ceremony at St. Conleths Church yesterday afternoon, June 25.

Fr. David’s First Mass of Thanksgiving will take place in Cill Mhuire church, Newbridge at 7pm this evening June 26, and everybody is welcome to attend.

Afterwards, parishioners will be able to receive the First Blessing of the new priest.

He has been appointed a curate in Portlaoise.

The 25-year-old is the first person from Newbridge to be ordained for the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin in over 20 years.

The new priest is son of David Vard, Senior, and Liz Yelverton. He has two sisters - Rebecca and Charlotte.

A past pupil of the Patrician Secondary School, and a former member of Newbridge Rugby Club, David began his priestly studies immediately after his Leaving Cert in 2010, aged 18.

Speaking to Brenda Drumm of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, David said: “I was 16 in Transition Year, and I made a promise with myself in Transition Year to say yes to everything.

“And that yes landed me in Lourdes .

“The Parish Priest rang the school looking for two volunteers to come to Lourdes. The school asked me and another man from my class, and we went to Lourdes in the summer after Transition Year, pushing wheelchairs, helping people, what any volunteer does in Lourdes.

“And then a conversation with Fr. Joe McDermott, the Parish Priest of Newbridge at the time, I asked him questions like did you ever want to get married, why did you want to be a priest? And he answered honestly and openly.

“I came away from the conversation going 'Priests are normal', and then that subtle question at the time, 'maybe I could be a priest?', and then I thought no, but that question kept coming back”.

Fr. David is overwhelmed by support. “I'm in love with the priesthood, and now I get to be that, something that I love, and I just can't wait to be that”, he added.

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