This good work: My first year of priesthood

Fr Michael Maguire, Assistant Priest at Our Lady of Grace, Chiswick reflects on the first anniversary of his ordination.

This time last year my whole life was turned upside down! Why? Because in June 2017, on the Nativity of John the Baptist, a life-long dream of mine became a reality.  The Holy Spirit took control of my life in a new and exciting way and I was ordained a priest. 

Yes, it is my first anniversary as a priest, and what a year it has been.  All that I thought priesthood was ceased to be notional, and became a reality.  Yes, I liked the idea and notion of priesthood, but, having now experienced the reality of it, I absolutely love being a priest, with all the joys and challenges that come with it, and I am immensely thrilled, and truly privileged, to be a priest!

This year has been a period of mixed emotions and experiences, of personal growth and adjustment, shaped of course by the graces of ordination, but shaped also by the genuine love and care I have received from the faithful people of God. My parish priest has been an incredible support to me this year, for which I am truly grateful, teaching me and guiding me not only as a brother priest and friend, but with the heart of the Good Shepherd himself.

I also thank the people of the parish, my brothers and sisters in the Lord, for teaching me what it is to be a priest and helping to unveil the reality of priesthood. The way in which you face the real circumstances of your own lives, the way in which you embody humility, your prayerfulness and spirituality, your good humour, the way in which you come together as a parish family when crises unfold; all these experiences have taught me so much.  All of this (and much more) enunciates the depth of your love for God and each other, but it has also taught me much about how to live out priesthood, a priesthood that isn’t about me but about us and God. 

I started by saying, ‘this time last year my whole life was turned upside down!’ Well, the reality is that as I looked into the chalice for the very first time as a priest, and I prayed the Lord’s words during the prayer of consecration, I not only saw the wine that becomes our salvation, but I saw my own reflection, and it was, and still is, upside down.  Every time I consume the Body and Blood of Christ, who called me to be a priest, I know that my life has been made right in priesthood. 

Thank you all for making my first year of priesthood truly amazing, beyond all expectations, and I look forward to all the time I will be with you in our parishes, giving thanks to God as we journey together to the glory that awaits us all. 

Thanks Fr Michael for these beautiful thoughts.