God on air | 

Popular radio star stuns fans by announcing he is set to become a priest

But now the award-winning radio presenter has revealed he has moved to Rome

Shaun Doherty

Stephen Maguire

One of Ireland’s most popular radio presenters has surprised his fans by announcing he is studying to become a priest.

Shaun Doherty was the voice of Donegal’s Highland Radio for almost 30 years.

He stunned his army of followers in 2017 when he announced live on air that he was leaving his microphone behind for “pastures new.” But now the award-winning radio presenter has revealed he has moved to Rome.

Mr Doherty will now be ordained a Deacon in a ceremony in St Paul's Basilica in Rome in June.

The former radio host, who has interviewed dozens of stars and politicians, said his life is constantly evolving.

However, he said he feels God has helped him use all his experience to finally arrive at his doorstep to where he can now help other people.

He said "I've come to a stage in my life where I feel God has brought me to this place and I think he has used all my good and bad experiences and mistakes I've made to help me to be a better person, and to be able to use the gifts that he has given me, which were communication, and being able to listen to people and empathise with people.

"I have a special interest in people who are suffering from addiction and people who have issues with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and all of these issues.

“I like to think maybe I will be helpful in the future to people who are in need of somebody to listen because that is what you do as a broadcaster."

Shaun said he is full aware that he is studying for the priesthood at a very challenging time within the Catholic Church.

And he certainly does not shy away from scandals surrounding the church including sex abuse but says it is not something which worries him.

“I know the church has come through a battering and negativity and we all know why and much of it is deserved.”

He added that while he was well aware of the public perception of the priesthood these days with the sex abuse scandals and how different it was joining now compared to 50 years ago, he was not really worried about it.

And he says that he hopes his experience of listening to people from behind a microphone will help him to help others.

“I'd be well aware of it because I was involved in the interviews over the years with people who have suffered abuse because people are hurt and they are entitled to be hurt because of what the church or certain members of the church, have done but I can't be fatalistic and think, that's it, we shut the doors.

“We have to, as a church, be there, we need priests whether it's me or somebody else, there has to be someone who steps forward and please God, many more will.

“Let's not forget all the good. We are right to focus on people who have been hurt. I know as a broadcaster of 30 years, I've heard the stories, I've felt the pain, I've heard it, met and spoken first hand to many people who have suffered.

“I've also heard many many stories from people who have lots of good things to say about the church but because people are afraid that if they say something good they are in some ways excusing the bad or minimising the suffering of people and nobody wants to do that. Help us heal, help others to heal, be part of the solution.”

Shaun Doherty's journey from radio show presenter to the priesthood will be broadcast on RTE Radio One on Easter Monday.

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