By Katie Ascough - 18 July, 2020
"It is important that parishes remain alert to the possibility that a priest who retires or is moved to another parish might not be replaced" – Bishop Farrell.
Bishop Dermot Farrell, Bishop of Ossory, announced on 17 July the following clerical appointments for the Diocese of Ossory which are to come into effect on 25 September. The Diocese of Ossory includes most of Kilkenny and portions of counties Laois and Offaly, with 42 parishes and 89 churches in the diocese.
The appointments for the Diocese of Ossory include:
– Very Reverend Frank Purcell is to become the parish priest of Inistioge.
– Very Reverend Dan Carroll, parish priest of Danesfort, is to become the team leader at Saint John’s Parish, Kilkenny City.
– Reverend Mark Condon, returning from studies abroad, is to become parish priest of Danesfort.
– Very Reverend Raymond Dempsey, current parish priest of Inistioge, is to further his studies.
– Very Reverend Eamonn O’Gorman, parish priest of Ballyragget and Conahy, is appointed parish priest of Lisdowney, residing in Ballyragget.
– Very Reverend Pat O’Farrell retires as parish priest of Lisdowney and is to become Catholic curate to the pastoral area of Ballyragget, Conahy and Lisdowney.
– Very Reverend William Hennessy, parish priest of Castletown, is appointed parish priest of Camross, residing in Castletown.
– Very Reverend Liam Taylor, parish priest of Ballycallan, is appointed Administrator Tullaroan in succession to Monsignor Kieron Kennedy.
– Very Reverend Dean Seamus McEvoy retires as Administrator of Seir Kieran (effective 5 July 2020).
Commenting on the appointments, Bishop Farrell said: “As you know very well, the past four months have been a very difficult time for people in our country and all across the world. People of faith, as individuals and communities, have not been immune to the challenges, the difficulties, and the pain of this time. Both people and priests have found themselves in a situation of significant spiritual and pastoral challenge. The difficulty of the situation has been compounded by the additional age-related and necessary restrictions on parishioners and priests. Even if the initial crisis has passed – and our gratitude is due to the significant dedication and sacrifice of those on the ‘front line’ – the pandemic is not over, and continues to have a big impact on how we relate to each other, how we work in our parishes, and how we pray together.
“In sum, the pandemic continues to affect how we carry out our sacramental and pastoral mission in the parish and in the Church. Notwithstanding fear, tiredness, and grief, priests endeavoured to stand with those bereaved and suffering even in the midst of the many restrictions and limitations imposed by the government to curtail the spread of the virus. We have been blessed by their generosity, and by the openness of both national and local media to use modern technology in all its forms, so that many people were able to continue to pray the Mass together, and to profess the faith which they feel in the depths of their hearts.
“The very real challenges and risks of the pandemic,” Bishop Farrell continued, “may not be allowed to blind us to the broader pastoral situation in which we find ourselves, and which had concerned us all long before the current crisis. It is important that parishes remain alert to the possibility that a priest who retires or is moved to another parish might not be replaced. While parishes in that situation will be looked after pastorally and administratively by the priests in the pastoral area, the loss of their priest is a very significant change in a parish. These challenges call us, both laity and ordained, to discover new ways to serve and support each other as we seek to follow the Lord in a new time.”
Bishop Farrell also said that, while he is “concerned about the lack of candidates coming forward to offer themselves for diocesan priesthood and to serve the sacramental and pastoral needs of our Church”, he also knows strongly that we are called “not to lose heart, but to hold on to the Lord’s promise to ‘be with us until the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20).”
“Like the beloved disciple at the Last Supper, we are held close to the Lord (see John 13:23), always in his providential embrace. He is the one who guides our feet on the way of discipleship and peace (see Luke 1:79). And so, although we are beset by many well-founded concerns, let us lose neither hope nor trust in the Lord’s loving care for us, and his closeness to every one of us, and to his Church,” the Bishop of Ossory concluded.