A young Fianna Fáil councillor is to resign his seat on Clare County Council to join the priesthood.
On Thursday, member of the Ennis electoral area, Cllr Mark Nestor announced his decision to resign his seat to allow him to commence his studies to become a priest next Wednesday.
In an interview on Clare FM’s ‘Morning Focus’ today, Cllr Nestor remarked: “We often talk about God’s calling. It was no longer that God was at the door knocking. It was as if he was outside with a megaphone calling.”
Cllr Nestor, aged 30, became Clare County Council’s youngest councillor when he was elected to the Council in the 2019 local elections in his first time to contest a seat.
The position of the Mayor of Ennis was on offer to Cllr Nestor earlier this year but Cllr Nestor passed up the chance to be mayor for the current year as he was focused on commencing his studies to be a priest.
He said: “Once I really did start to discern my vocation and deepen my prayer life, the decision was quite easy and I knew that I would to forego the position of mayor and go forward and continue my discernment.”
Cllr Nestor said that the calling to become a priest was always there but stated that he did not regret his time in politics.
Cllr Nestor said that the three years in local politics “have given me a thicker skin… and more life experience”.
The Ennis man said that it wasn’t possible to continue the role of councillor and study for the priesthood at the same time.
He said: “Spiritually and logistically, I don’t think it would make sense to follow both roles. Both roles are very consuming.”
He said that to follow a vocation to the priesthood “is to commit oneself to the servitude of God’s people” and you would have very little time to commit to other forms of work.
Cllr Nestor confirmed that the first year training is to be spent at the College of St Alban at Valladolid in Spain “and my formation begins there next Wednesday”.
He said that he accepted that entering the priesthood today “is the road less travelled”.
He said that he has no answers on the low numbers entering seminary to study for the priesthood.
Cllr Nestor said: “I hope and pray for vocations to the priesthood every single day.”
He said: “Given it has taken me such a long time to finally have the courage in making my decision to go forward I have made myself one promise.”
He said that the promise is that he is “going to give it everything just to make sure that I can at least be true to myself that if it works out in a number of years time that I will be ordained in a number of years time to serve the people of Killaloe”.
Cllr Nestor is expected to formally resign his seat at the September meeting of Clare County Council next Monday and Fianna Fáil will then begin the process to choose someone to take Cllr Nestor’s seat.