Father James Sheridan

Priesthood’s Call Overcame Lure of Celtic Tiger Ireland

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James Sheridan grew up in Ireland at the height of the so-called Celtic Tiger economic boom.

“I know what it’s like to live life without God,” said Father Sheridan, 37.

“I just fell into the aggressive secularism of Celtic Tiger Ireland. I bought into the material illusion that I would find happiness in making as much money as possible while having as much fun as possible….

“I decided I would become a lawyer and even for a while, I fell away from the practice of my faith.

“Then, through the prayers of other people and especially through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, I had an encounter with the Lord, and with His mercy, that changed my life.

“The idea of priesthood,” he said, “became stronger and stronger” and overruled the aspiration of becoming a European Union lawyer.

James had first sensed the call to the priesthood around the age of reason, 7 years old. As a boy, “whenever I envisioned myself being a man, it was as a priest,” he said. Three late paternal uncles were priests. “It was really through my uncles that the Lord planted the seed of the call.”

James entered the Legionaries of Christ in 2006 in Dublin and made first vows in 2008.

He was eventually sent to New York, where during his apostolic internship, he served on the faculty of the Legionaries in Thornwood and as secretary to the academic dean.

“While I’m very grateful to everything the Legionaries gave me, it became clear over time that my personality was best suited to diocesan life. Everything just seemed to fall into place with the archdiocese.”

He left the Legionaries in 2010.

“I want to be a priest because God has called me. I resisted His call for quite a while. I’ve learned that we are happiest when we do God’s will. That’s when we really begin to live life. We become who we are supposed to be.

“I don’t think anything else in this world can compare with being a priest, because the priest, in a sense, opens up the gates of the kingdom of heaven for people, through the sacraments.”

His parents live in Ireland. His twin, Joseph, who is older by five minutes, works in finance. Their younger sister, Laura, 27, is a social care worker.

Hobbies include horseback riding, rugby, running, reading, pilgrimages and travel. He is fluent in Spanish. He’s an ardent debater, and his high school debate team was runner-up in the national final.

Born in London and raised in Ireland since age 5, he studied law at Trinity College in Dublin, received a bachelor’s in philosophy from Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He attended Catholic grade school and high school in Ireland.

Summer assignments included the Bronx parishes of St. Barnabas and St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus, and Annunciation-Our Lady of Fatima in Crestwood.

Father sheridan will celebrate his First Mass and deliver the homily Sunday, May 29, at 11:45 a.m. at St. Barnabas Church, the Bronx.

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