Laicised priest re-admitted to active ministry

Sunday, December 14th, 2008
A priest who was laicised 37 years ago was re-admitted to active ministry in a low-key but unique ceremony last Thursday.

Bishop Jim Moriarty presided at a low-key but unique ceremony at Mass in the parish church of Our Lady and St Dasvid in Naas, at which Fr Michael Moloney was restored to active ministry. A widower since 2005, Fr Michael Moloney is a father of four and has two grandchildren.

Ordained in 1966 for the Society of African Missions (SMA), Michael served in Egypt and at Ballinafad College, Ireland. He applied for a return to the lay state in 1969 and his laicisation was granted in May 1971.

Michael married Marjorie in Zambia in 1972. They had one daughter and three sons. Michael and Marjorie returned to Ireland and both worked as teachers. Michael taught in the Vocational School in Newbridge, Co Kildare. Michael has been retired for a number of years and living in Naas, Co Kildare. Marjorie died on July 30th 2005.

In May 2006 Michael applied to the Holy Father for his laicisation to be rescinded and to be readmitted to the exercise of the priestly ministry. His intention was to rejoin the SMA. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith specified in the first instance that Michael would have to undertake a programme of theological, liturgical and pastoral updating. Michael subsequently undertook a suitable course of studies in Milltown Institute in Dublin.

In the meantime, following discussion with the SMA, it was agreed that rather than returning to the missions with the SMA, Michael would apply to serve as a diocesan priest in the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin.

In September 2008 Bishop Moriarty accepted his application conditional on the formal approval from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In a rescript dated 20th October 2008, Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave the required approval.

Bishop Moriarty has appointed Fr Moloney to serve as curate in the parishes of Daingean/Killeigh (Co Offaly).

Speaking at the ceremony on Thursday last, Bishop Jim Moriarty welcomed Michael into a new family, the family of priests and people of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. He asked the congregation to pray in a special way for Fr Michael and for all priests.