LINCOLN, NE – Father Liam O’Shea-Creal, a candidate for United States Military chaplaincy, was ordained a Catholic priest on Saturday, May 28, in Lincoln, NE. He plans eventually to serve as a Catholic chaplain in the U.S. Navy with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). His intention is to go on active duty following a three-year period of pastoral service in his home Diocese of Lincoln under a co-sponsorship agreement between the Diocese and the AMS.
Father O’Shea-Creal, 27, graduated on May 7 from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, with a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Sacred Scripture. His priestly ordination was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Bishop James D. Conley, D.D., S.T.L., of Lincoln. AMS Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer concelebrated the 11:00 a.m. ordination Mass.
Among those in attendance were the new priest’s parents, Corporal Robert Creal, USMC (HD) and Mrs. Mary O’Shea-Creal, brother Con O’Shea-Creal and his wife Paige and children, sister Marie Hall and her husband Nicholas and children, sister Norah Schoenfelder and her husband Mitch and children, brother Killian O’Shea-Creal, and extended family including his grandmother, Ms. Mary I. O’Shea, and aunts and uncles. The prospective Navy chaplain is a 2013 graduate of Pius X Catholic High School in Lincoln and a 2018 graduate of St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, NE, where he earned of Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy.
Commenting on his presbyteral ordination, the Reverend O’Shea-Creal said, “Completing seminary formation felt like the natural conclusion to a good yet difficult period of life, to have completed all the course work, but even more, to have completed the human & spiritual formation offered in the Seminary was a joyous occasion, however looking to the future was a daunting perspective. Now that Ordination is complete and my life as a priest has begun, I see how the seminary formed me for this life, but also how this sacrament is a mystery even to those who have lived as priests for decades. I am humbled by the events of the last week, and I still reflect on the beauty of the liturgy, I feel I will be unpacking these days in my mind and heart for years to come.”
The new priest celebrated his first Mass of Thanksgiving at noon on Sunday, May 29, at St. Teresa Catholic Church in Lincoln. He has been appointed parochial vicar of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Hastings, teacher at St. Cecilia Catholic High School in Hastings, and an advocate in the diocesan tribunal.
The eventual service of the Father O’Shea-Creal and other Catholic chaplain candidates is greatly anticipated by the Navy, which, like all other branches of the U.S. Military, continues to suffer a chronic shortage of Catholic chaplains. Currently, the Navy has only 39 priests on active duty, serving a large Catholic population of Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and their families, spread worldwide.
Young men interested in discerning a priestly vocation, and the vocation within a vocation to serve those who serve in the U.S. military, can find more information milarch.org/vocations, or may contact the AMS Vocations Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gifts in support of AMS Vocations are gratefully accepted at milarch.org/donate.