On Monday, 25th September 2023, the Rev. Martin Steele was ordained to the priesthood by the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Rev. Dr Paul Colton.
The cathedral was full for the occasion with visitors from all over Ireland, including clergy and lay people from Cork, Cloyne and Ross as well as from previous parishes in which Martin served.
The Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton presided at the liturgy, and the former Archbishop of Armagh, the Right Rev. Dr Richard Clarke preached at the Service. The Lay Vicars Choral of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral Choir sung under their Director of Music, Peter Stobart, and the Assistant Director of Music, Matthew Breen played the organ.
Bishop Paul welcomed everyone, local parishioners as well as those who had travelled great distances to be there, and the greatest welcome was extended to Martin. Bishop Paul said:
We are here to support you with our prayers and with our love. It is a day of rejoicing and celebration. We thank God for you, and we thank God that you have heard his call.
As part of his sermon, the Right Rev. Richard Clarke said:
Martin begins a priestly ministry today. He is given authority for this – the authority of the Church, but primarily the authority of God. An authority of love, of involvement, and of service. But in seeking to fulfil God’s ministry through us, we are still called to be authentic. Authentically what God has made us – real people rather than a parody of priesthood, just as God the Holy Trinity must not be a cardboard cut-out figure in our mind. Nor must the priest be a stylised stereotype of what we imagine clergy are meant to be like. God deserves better from us. So Martin, people can only believe you and trust you when they know you as you are.
The Ordination Service was part of the Commemoration Weekend for the 1400 Anniversary of the Death of St Fin Barre. “The events of the weekend were leading towards the ordination of Martin on Monday evening”, said the Bishop, “which, to me, emphasises the continuity of tradition stretching back to St Finn Barre, who brought Christianity to Cork.”