‘Prayer sustained in dark days’

Cardinal Seán Brady has said it is the assurance of prayers from Catholics across the country that has sustained his fifty years of priesthood.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic this week as he celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination Dr Brady said “unquestionably it was the prayers and assurances of prayers that sustained me, even in very difficult times for the Church in Ireland,” he said.

Reflecting on a ministry that took him from rural Cavan, to teaching and priestly formation in Rome to the helm of the Church in Ireland, the cardinal said: “It has been a time of immense change in both the Church and in Ireland, sometimes a time of immense challenge”.

It he had his choice over again would he still talk the path to priesthood? “I would gladly do it again,” was his immediate reply. “Amidst challenges and difficulties, these have also been wonderfully happy years for me,” he said of him ministry.

Dr Brady admitted that he was regularly bolstered by his frequent interactions with the people of his Armagh Archdiocese, particularly in the cathedral.


“Pope Francis is always asking for our prayers. There is a story told from Buenos Aires, a taxi driver who sometimes picked up the Pope. 

“She always asked him for prayers: his response? ‘you pray for me and I’ll pray for you’.

“We all need to be supported in prayers,” he said.

Cardinal Brady said he had been delighted to celebrate Mass at the weekend in the Roman basilica of St John Lateran where he was ordained 50 years ago and in the nearby basilica of St Mary Major where he celebrated his first Mass as a newly-ordained priest.

“Fifty years is a long time, there have been good times and bad times, but I never regretted my decision to become a priest,” the cardinal said.

Dr Brady is due to turn 75 in August and, in accordance with Church law, will submit his retirement to Pope Francis.