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Valentia Island to be left without resident priest

By Sean Ryan - 13 July, 2015

Decline in vocations makes itself felt in the Diocese of Kerry as retiring parish priest will not be replaced.

Bishop--of-Kerry_Ray-Browne(4)One of the most famous parishes in the Diocese of Kerry is to be left without a resident priest for the first time in its history.

The latest round of clerical changes has just been announced for the diocese.

Under the changes announced, Valentia Island will become the third parish in Kerry without a resident priest as the decline in vocations continues to put pressure on parish ministry.

This week the Bishop Raymond Browne of Kerry confirmed the news that Valentia parish priest Fr John Shannahan is retiring and is not being replaced.

Bishop Browne also confirmed that Valentia will now be served by the clergy of the Iveragh Pastoral Area which includes the parishes of Cahersiveen, Ballinskelligs, Waterville and Caherdaniel.

In a statement issued to coincide with the clerical changes, Bishop Browne confirmed that a total of 19 priests would be on the move.

He added, “Sadly this year, owing to the decrease in numbers of priests, there will be two less priests working in parish ministry.”

Bishop Browne added, “I want to take this opportunity to thank the clergy of the diocese for facilitating the changes which are essential to the running of the diocese.”

The Catholic population on Valentia Island is serviced by two churches – the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Knightstown and the Church of St Derarca & St Teresa on Chapeltown with Masses running each day from Wednesday to Sunday.

There is also a Church of Ireland parish at Knightstown. Its regular population is around 700 people but this swells to well over 1,000 over the holiday season.

The changes take effect from Wednesday, 22 July.

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