From The Irish Times:
Ireland’s youngest priest takes up his new position as a curate in Portlaoise this week – the first time he will lived on his own as he makes his transition into his new surroundings.
He is hoping to use his age and love of social media to appeal to a younger generation.
The Newbridge native who takes up his new post as a curate in Portlaoise Parish today, says that while he was not a regular Mass-goer as a teenager, a trip to Lourdes changed this and ultimately put him on his spiritual path.
“What I discovered in Lourdes was a real love, not just for the church and going to Mass, but for each other. I quickly realised that the source of this love for each other was the same thing, God,” Fr Vard told The Irish Times.
“I was 16 when I went to Lourdes and was one of the first times that I was away from home. I had a very honest conversation with our old parish priest, while I was there. I asked him questions like had he ever wanted a family, or did he regret being a priest. He answered honestly and a very small seed of thought entered my head.”
That seed of thought festered for more than a year but never left the young priest, and it was at 17 that he knew he had a calling.
“Lourdes was the point in my life that changed; a lot of things in my life have pointed me in this direction, subtly. My favourite quote from the bible is ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.’ That’s from Jeremiah.
Ad multos annos!