Jim and twins Rory and Brian Doyle were all successful civil engineers and earning big money before they decided to give it all up for the more modest life of the priesthood.
Two of the brothers are priests with a third in his third year in a seminary in Canterbury.
Last week Fr Brian Doyle, 36, was ordained in Murrintown, Co Wexford, in the same church in which he was baptised and in which he made his First Communion and Confirmation.
In the nearby hamlet of Monamolin outside Gorey, his older brother, Fr Jim Doyle, 39, is serving as a priest.
“When we were in our twenties and living in Galway if you told us we were going to be priests we would have laughed at you,” said Fr Jim.
“We are all level-headed guys and not the quiet retiring types. I am a civil engineer and my two brothers have doctorates in engineering, and we could easily have gone down the road and set up a construction company and ended up owing millions.”
Fr Doyle worked with Sisks for a number of years, but it was while working with Concern on projects in Cambodia and Burundi he found his vocation.
“As a priest you are busier than on a building site where you only work from 8am till 6pm: In this job it can be from dawn to dusk. I didn’t become a priest for the easy life — it is what I wanted to do. Why compromise by taking second best?
“I am only here in Monamolin a few weeks and my parish priest was my old headmaster in St Peter’s secondary school in Wexford town. It’s funny how things turn out.”
Not only is the parish priest his former teacher, he also taught alongside Jim’s father, Brian Doyle Sr, a Latin and Classics teacher who retired from St Peter’s two years ago.
Although Rory has another couple of years to go before he is fully ordained, it never dawned on him that one day he would go for the priesthood.
“When I was in college I just did the bare minimum, and like everyone else I enjoyed going to parties and having a drink. If anyone said to me then that one day I was going to be a priest I would not have believed it.
“I was a civil engineer in Galway for six years and I left work when I was 33. My vocation developed over a period of time from when I was in Queen’s University doing a PhD and I met people in prayer groups. I felt a draw to the religious life and when I met the Franciscan friars I felt at home with them and joined. It is very rewarding life, but I suppose the biggest thing is not having a family.”
Their proud father, Brian Sr, is delighted and in equal measure surprised that his sons have decided to become priests: “Rory and Brian are twins, they are serious chaps. I suppose we were surprised at the beginning, but we took it in our stride.
“Me and my wife Joan are devout but we are not overly so. People keep saying you must be proud. We are very proud, but these things happen. We don’t know why they happen. We’re delighted — it’s God’s plan for them and we are happy to be part of it.”
“Rory joined the Franciscan friars two years ago and he is based in Canterbury studying theology, so hopefully he will go on to the priesthood if he perseveres.
“We also have a daughter, Judith, who is an art teacher, and she was married last year and lives in Cornwall.”