Ordination of Rev Paul Grady

Archbishop Patrick Kelly ordained Rev Paul Grady to the priesthood last Friday evening, 6 July, in front of a packed congregation at St Mary's church, Wigan.

From pub bar manager to priest in the 'blink of an eye' that’s Paul's joyous story.  A former pupil at St Mary and St John’s Primary School, and St John Fisher High School, Wigan, Paul later attended St John Rigby Sixth Form College and studied at Liverpool Hope University leaving as a primary school teacher with a music specialism.

He says  of his call to the priesthood: 'I felt there was something more I was called to do as I loved teaching and working with young people, something I continued through the Scouts and Lourdes Youth Pilgrimages.'

After leaving university he started as a funeral organist in Wigan and soon was asked to help out in the office and with music in St Cuthbert’s, Pemberton.  He recalled: 'This was a great time as I had many conversations with Father Simon (Henry)  about a possible vocation and he was very supportive.

'I dragged my feet, however, when I was offered a new job as Bar Manager of a pub in Wigan, which I had worked in, on and off, since being a glass collector at 16.  I worked in this role for several years until finally making the leap and putting myself forward to be considered for seminary.'

Paul continued: 'Being ordained at this time is really exciting, as the Church in our Diocese is in a period of renewal and change, considering how to bring Christ anew in to our communities with fewer priests.'

He will be travelling to Lourdes as a Youth Chaplain later this month, and says: 'This will be fantastic as I think it will be my fourteenth pilgrimage with the Diocese and my first as a Chaplain to the young people who are inspirational in their search for God in their lives.'

He added: 'Most of all I look forward to being with people wherever I am sent, in their joys and sorrows and being and encountering Christ in and with them.'

Introduction to Mass and Homily preached by the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, at the Ordination to the Priesthood of Rev Paul Grady.  Friday 6 July 2012 at 6.30 pm in the Church of St Mary, Wigan.

Introduction to Mass:

Seminaries, seminarians are great at spreading myths.  I’m often amazed at allegations of what I said in lectures at Saint Mary’s College, Oscott, where Paul, Liam and Joe completed the formation securely begun at Ushaw.   One myth I do accept as true: that I said: 'If we really face up to reality, what happens to bread and wine through the deeds and words entrusted to a priest is not odd: bread and wine were created in the loving wisdom and wisest love of God to become the Body and Blood of his Son our Lord'.  So too: nothing odd is going to be accomplished by the laying on of hands, by the invocation of the Holy Spirit, in the soul, the heart, the mind, the affection, the hands of Paul Grady today.   For: Before he formed him in his mother’s womb, the Lord knew Paul: before he was born he consecrated him: to work for the Lord with untiring effort and great earnestness of spirit.   To be caught up into the wonder of the Lord, the grain of wheat who by dying yielded a rich harvest of which harvest we tonight are the sign.


Carried in our mother’s womb: I suppose all that means and how dangerous it would be for me to say more is captured in that moment when Bishop Tom, dared to say at his ordination as a Bishop, he might prefer to be pregnant.   Rarely was such a chorus of: 'Oh no you wouldn’t,' heard in a Cathedral from all mothers present.

The Lord himself, because without sin able to enter into the heart, the fears, the feelings, the emotions of others, saw the climax of his life as a giving birth.  A mother’s life blood selflessly nourishing her child.   A child who will not be a simple replica of herself, her husband, to be possessed, to be owned, controlled: but utterly unique: with a personal name, in the end only known to God: a calling to be what no one has ever been before.  But that selfless giving of life to another we now know is the secret of all authentic good, love, respect, joy. For unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain, but if it dies it yields a rich harvest.

Paul: you will soon receive from the people the gifts to be offered to God: bread from grains of wheat that died: wine from grapes of vines: pruned to yield sweetest fruit: but crushed in the wine-press to remain in darkness and exactly that temperature of cold and heat that will yield a wine to gladden hearts.

It is not odd that what such harvest and vintage shall become as your hands cast over them the shadow of the Holy Spirit and from your heart the words of the Lord ring as true as in an upper room on the night before the grain of wheat died.  The body of which it is sung:

'Ave verum Corpus natum de Maria Virgine;
vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine;
cuius latus perforatum fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis preagustatum mortis in examine.'

Hail true body, born of Mary the Virgin:
truly suffered, immolated on the cross for our entire race:
whose side once pierced became a spring flowing water and blood.
Be for us at the scrutiny death brings, a foretaste of all that is soon to come.

Imitate therefore, what you celebrate, model your life on the Lord’s cross.   And we may sincerely dare to read within that reality of the ways of the holiest the recent death of your uncle Father John and the death of Michael Williams.  Their chalices are being used in this your ordination Mass.  Their chalices are handed on to you.   This precious chalice: for in the end there is only one chalice: the Lord’s own.  Nothing odd, out of place, incoherent is taking place here at Saint Mary’s, Wigan today.

Pictures from the Mass of Ordination