Ordination of Rev Pat Ryan – – 9 September 2021

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Friends, family and members of Marion Keating and Pat Ryan’s parishes joined with others to witness the ordination of Pat and Marion. The service took place on the evening of 9 September in St Patrick’s cathedral, Trim.

Numbers attending the service were restricted and it was conducted in accordance with government guidelines concerning Covid–19.

We are grateful to Dean Paul Bogle, dean of St Patrick’s, for facilitating the service and who led the intercessions. Music was provided by the Cathedral organist and Director of Music, Ms Doreen Kimberley.

In keeping with Covid guidelines there was no congregational singing. However, hymns were sung by a soloist, Harriet Wilkenson.

Readings were read by friends and parishioners from Pat and Marion’s parishes.

The diocesan family in Meath and Kildare wish both Marion and Pat the very best in their future ministry.

Here is an opportunity to find out a little more about Rev Marion Keating, ordained as deacon in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Trim by Bishop Pat Storey on Thursday 9 September. The preacher at the service was Rev William Seale.

Rev Marion Keating, Ms Karen Seaman (Diocesan Secretary), Bishop Pat Storey, Archdeacon Leslie Stevenson, Rev Pat Ryan and Rev William Seale (l to r).

1.    Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and I grew up in Dublin. Went to College in UCD to study Arts. Did two years teaching, joined the Civil Service – which I left after 19 years to go and work with horses. I worked as a qualified instructor, teacher and Dressage judge for many years. 

I came to live in Slane over 20 years ago and ran a small farm for twenty years – I had a suckler Angus Dairy  herd and bred horses.  Meath was very refreshing after the hustle and bustle of city life in Dublin. My only regret is that time has passed so quickly. 

2.    What is your home parish and what involvement do you have in it (or the dioceses)?

 After moving to Slane I went to St. Patrick’s Church in Slane to worship and became involved in the parish – initially as reader, member of the Select Vestry and then as church warden.  My husband became organist in Slane and together we have involved in organising concerts, recitals  and other events in the Church over the years. I was very encouraged by the support from our sister Church in Slane – St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church – and we have collaborated on a number of joint ceremonies over the years – including an Easter Ceremony of Light on Slane Hill. 

3.    Can you tell us a little about your journey in ordination?

In Slane I went from reading to feeling that I needed to become more involved in the Church. I was very encouraged and supported by Eileen Armstrong and felt called to ministry.  With the support of Canon John Clarke I was accepted on the OLM programme – and there followed two years of part-time study and regular academic assignments. The first year or course involved study group in Multyfarnam. Over this period I had contact with other ordinands and clergy. 

I found on-line learning challenging – as I am not a great fan of technology. The real learning happened for me on our assignments where I had to formulate my thoughts after doing a lot of reading. The discussions I had with my fellow ordinands, my partner and others deepened my understanding of the given topic as I learned from others’ views of the texts we studied. I may not have agreed with all the views but my eyes were opened time and again by the wisdom of others and the benefit of their experience. 

Part of my formation involved pastoral visit to the sick. I found this challenging at first but it helped me developing my understanding of practical ministry – particularly the challenges of ageing and dealing with illness – both in a physical and spiritual way. 

Covid changed everything because of the lack of personal contact with others. I became used to Zoom meetings but missed the richness of person-to-person interaction. 

Parishioners in Slane have been very encouraging at all stages in my formation. It was initially very daunting to stand up in front of your community and lead prayers and reflection. One of the benefits of leading prayers in your parish is that the parishioners  know you as a friend and will be constructive in their feedback. I was very fortunate to have the support of Rev. Alan Stewart  who shared his experience with me and gave me opportunities to take initiatives and develop my skills. 

Ian and  Trudy Colton, friends of mine, from Tullamore helped me enormously because of their extensive experience in parish matters, and the workings of the management levels of the Church.  

4.    How will you be exercising your ministry in the near future and what are you looking forward to?

I understand that my ordination as a local minister means I shall be at the disposal of other churches and unions in the diocese; however, I look forward to meeting other communities and building on the contacts I have developed here locally. 

Covid gave me experience of outdoor services – Navan Union has a tradition of outdoor services on Slane Hill and on Tara Hill – and I expect we will see more of these in time. 

My experience, over the last couple of years,  including the challenges of Covid is that our faith has to be lived out in a practical way. Our actions are our signs of our witness to our inner faith. Over the challenges of the last few years I have seen many practical examples of the Spirit at work in a practical way. 

My prayer is that the Spirit and the wisdom of my community will be with me in the time ahead.