By Cian Molloy - 02 August, 2019
Parishioners in Kilcummin, Co. Kerry, are continuing their campaign to have a priest restored to their parish.
On Wednesday, a petition signed by 1200 people was delivered to the Kerry diocesan offices. It was calling on Bishop Ray Browne to reverse clerical changes announced at the end of June and implemented in July.
Bishop Browne has to contend with falling numbers of priests because of the decline in vocations and because of the age profile of those priests who are in service. This year, three priests of the diocese have retired after giving more than half a century of service to their ordained vocation.
Currently, 8 of the 53 parishes of the Kerry Diocese are without priests.
The parishioners of Kilcummin, near Killarney, are so far the most vocal complainers about the situation. Since the start of July some parishioners have said they were no longer contributing to church-plate collections at Our Lady of Lourdes church in the village. And last week it was signalled that a petition would be presented to Bishop Browne this week.
The parish comprises some 3000 people and there were 1200 signatures on the petition delivered to St Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney on Thursday.
Bishop Browne says he appreciates the upset and sadness of the people of Kilcummin. He says providing continuity of service in parishes in the diocese is a growing challenge and he is not going to reverse any of the clerical changes announced in June.