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Priest shortage leads to amalgamation of parishes
A SHORTAGE of priests has led to a decision by the bishop of Kilmore, Most Rev Dr Leo O’Reilly, in consultation with the two pastoral councils, to approve the joining of the neighbouring Kinawley and Killesher parishes.
The new parish will be called Kinawley-Killesher Parish and it will have as its parish priest, Fr Donald Hannon, presently the parish priest of Swanlinbar-Kinawley, and Fr Gabriel Kelly, CC, Kinawley as its curate.
Both will take up duties from 28th August and as from 1st September, the number of Masses in the present two parishes will reduce from six to four.
Speaking to the Herald, Fr Hannon explained that the changes, which will be for a six month trial period, had been forced specifically by the pending retirement of Canon Brian McNamara, the parish priest of Killesher, and by a shortage of priests generally.
“The one thing the bishop stressed is we won’t be closing any of the four churches in the present two parishes. He hasn’t got the priests to put into Killesher, and what he is doing is he’s joining, not amalgamating, the two and the priests of the area have to be responsible for the parish.”
Frs Donald and Gabriel, when called upon, will also be helping out in the three other parishes in the four-parish cluster, namely Knockninny, Templeport and Kildallan, and clergy from those three will be expected to help out in Kinawley-Killesher.
“That is why, for instance, there is only one Vigil Mass in the new parish (in Killesher at 8.30 on Saturdays from 1st September)”, Fr Hannon added. “We have had two Vigil Masses up till now. It means there is one priest free to help out in the cluster as required.”