Working in the healing industry with Fr Conlon

Working in the healing industry with Fr Conlon Fr Conlon
Personal Profile

“I work in the healing industry.”

“It all began in Bundoran I suppose around 1985,” says Fr Noel Conlon. People would call to him and he would pray with them. Word quickly spread around the area, and “nearly overnight there was an awful crowd coming,” he tells The Irish Catholic.

Fr Conlon, known widely as ‘the healing priest’, was ordained in 1980. He was initially sent to the parish in Bundoran as a curate and remained there for eight years.

He tells of how one day the parish priest came to him and there were five or six cars in the drive; people were coming to him to be healed. “He said ‘if you don’t tell the bishop I’m going to tell him’,” says Fr Conlon.

He approached Bishop Joseph Duffy at a conference, telling him that people were coming to him for prayers and blessings. The Bishop said it was great, but Fr Conlon says he didn’t realise how busy it was initially.

“Then when he found out exactly what was happening, he was sort of negative toward it.” Bishop Duffy sent Fr Conlon to Carrickmacross and assigned him parish duties and teaching in the school, saying he would have no time to do anything else.

“I told nobody about the healing but sure within weeks people were coming, they were breaking the door down.

It was crazy, even at school I’d be in a class and somebody would be coming in looking for you,” says Fr Conlon.

For three years, he says he had no control over it: “Some Sundays you could have 300 to 500 people there it was just mental.”

After mass and some dinner, he would begin healing people, and would often continue until 2am. He used to also take groups of people to try and manage the flocks coming for prayer.

“There was one particular Wednesday night I’ll never forget,” he says. “There was a girl came to the door she had overdosed, I had to take her in and put her in a room, somebody else then called and I had to take them and put them somewhere else, I called the ambulance in the middle of it and the place was packed.”

He was healing out of his own home at the time and there were two other priests living there.

After that incident Bishop Duffy called Fr Conlon. “He said he had thought about the healing ministry and I was doing nothing wrong, I was doing something that was good and it was needed.”

Fr Conlon was began healing as much as he wanted during the week and helped out with the parish at the weekend.

“It has been that way now since. I don’t do many parish duties at all now, maybe weddings and baptisms.”

“It takes up my whole life,” he says, giving the example of how on Thursday, his only day off, he is ‘inundated’ with messages and letters.

He was once on Countrywide with Marty Morrissey in 2012 which booked him out for eight months straight.

Even on Christmas day, he says “I was sitting down for my dinner the phone rang couldn’t believe it, the timing.”

“I went to see two people yesterday in the hospital in Drogheda but ended up seeing about 12”, he says, showing the need for the ministry of healing – which is recognised by the Church. Fr Conlon feels that most priests have the gift of healing if they try and use it.

In the busy times, when he had no control over the throngs of people coming to him, he went to Medjugorje and found strength there. He talked to a Capuchin Monk who told him ‘if you’ve a gift use it; God wants us to use our gifts’. And so, he continued.

In order to be able to heal and listen attentively for such long periods of time, Fr Conlon gets up at 6am and walks while saying the rosary. He then prays in the oratory for two hours before breakfast “just to be ready for the day to give me the strength and the healing, and the words.”

Fr Conlon always felt drawn to healing, being told from a young age that he had a gift. He never met his father, who died eight days before he was born – giving him the cure for ‘dirty mouth’ as candida or thrush was known at the time.

His uncle Joe was the one who told him he could heal, who himself was known for healing mostly animals, and people too.

“He gave me certain prayers and told me I had all the cures; he had a special cure for psoriasis or eczema. Children would come to him and it would clear up.”

He tells stories of people coming to him with extreme pain and it vanishing; a woman with a cancerous tumour which also vanished after prayer; a couple that couldn’t conceive who, after instructions to pray together, fell pregnant and a young man over Christmas who had 21 heart attacks and managed to recover.

Fr Conlon says he doesn’t always know if he has helped people as they don’t all report back, but those who do are very appreciative: “I feel useless sometimes in situations. I feel I’m not helping at all but then you get a card and some reassurance that you’re doing good.”

After 35 years of healing, while getting tired occasionally, he feels fulfilled by helping others. He says he is often a last resort, “I do say to them, when the lord was here, Jesus himself, he didn’t heal everybody, not everybody touched got healed.”

Judging by the waiting lists, he is working wonders.