Priest marries his own son

A PRIEST married his own son in Galway yesterday.

However the occasion was purely one of celebration rather than any sort of scandal.

Father Michael Moloney conducted the marriage ceremony of his son Paul to Deborah Coyle at the Garrison Church adjacent to Renmore barracks in Galway.

The wedding took place two years after the celebrant was readmitted to the priesthood, which he left to get married and start a family.

Fr Moloney, who is originally from Tipperary and who is a curate in Daingean in Co Offaly, applied to rejoin the priesthood when his wife died in 2005.

Fr Moloney’s two grandchildren, Abbie, seven, and Cian, six, were among 200 guests at the wedding, with a reception afterwards in the Salthill Hotel.

Fr Moloney said that it was heartening that the Church had been able to cope with his return.

“I have been able to experience life from all aspects and I am delighted to be able to perform this ceremony,” said Fr Moloney, who paid tribute to Bishop Jim Moriarty for readmitting him to the priesthood.

Fr Moloney said he still considered himself a married man, five years after his wife died.

The groom admitted it was unusual for a father to perform the marriage ceremony.

“But with all that is going on in the Church it is very reassuring to have someone like him as a priest. He has been through life,” said Paul.

“It feels strange but he said he would love to do it when I asked him and we were delighted when he said yes,” said Paul.

Fr Moloney, who is in his late 60s, was originally ordained in December 1966 for the Society of African Missions (SMA).

He served as a missionary in Egypt and at Ballinafad College in Co Mayo.

But he applied to be laicised in 1969 and three years later his laicisation was granted by the Catholic Church.

He married an Irish woman whom he met in Zambia and Michael and Marjorie Moloney had three sons and a daughter.

The couple returned to Ireland to work as teachers in Naas and Newbridge, Co Kildare.

Michael taught in the Vocational School in Newbridge, Co Kildare. His wife Marjorie died on July 30, 2005.

In May 2006 – 37 years after leaving the priesthood – he applied to the Pope for his laicisation to be rescinded and to be readmitted to the priesthood.

On December 11, 2008, he was readmitted to the priesthood by Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Dr Jim Moriarty.

His plan had been to serve abroad with the SMA, but following discussions it was agreed that he would serve as curate in the parishes of Daingean/Killeigh, Co Offaly.

His son Paul and new daughter-in-law chose the Army’s Garrison Church in Renmore for yesterday’s event as Deborah is from Ballybane in Galway and her late father, Paddy Coyle, served with the Defence Forces at Renmore.

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