The following diocesan changes will take effect from Wednesday 1st September 2021.
Very Rev Paudge McDonnell PP, Clontibret to be PE Clontibret
Very Rev Adrian Walshe PP Castleblayney (Muckno) and PP Aughnamullen East to be also PP Clontibret.
Rev Seán Mulligan CC, Carrickmacross to be CC Fintona (Donacavey)
Rev Kevin Connolly CC Fintona (Donacavey) to be CC Carrickmacross.
Very Rev Canon Pat McHugh to be Diocesan Director of the Synodal Pathway
I thank the priests who are taking up new appointments and pray God’s blessings on them. A special thank you to those priests who have retired since last year, all of whom have given many years of service. Each retirement reduces the number of priests available to serve and increases the workload on those who remain. I thank each priest and our deacon for their generous and dedicated service. On the positive side, a number of men are discerning and in formation for priesthood and the permanent diaconate.
Like the rest of the Church in Ireland, we are embarking on a new journey – a Synodal Pathway – over the coming years. The appointment of a Diocesan Director for this is a welcome first step. This synodal pathway will be a period of prayerful reflection on what God is calling his Church to be at this point in time and into the future. We will ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, as Jesus tells us today, ‘it is the Spirit that gives life’ (John 6: 63).
This year’s changes see a significant change for the Parish of Clontibret and some of the other parishes in the Mid-Monaghan area. I thank the priests in that area in a particular way for their positive and visionary approach to this new situation. This weekend, I address a Pastoral Letter to the people of those parishes (see separate news story). The realities which have hit these parishes in recent months will inevitably come to other places in the times ahead. All of this reinforces the call to prayerful reflection about the future.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to be witnesses to his Word through our actions in the world and in the Church. How do I use my gifts? Is there a gift that I have which could be of use to the local parish community? Could I be more active in ministry – lay or ordained? Recently, Pope Francis has opened up several ministries to both men and women – lector, acolyte and catechist. To those we can add areas of parish life such as sacramental preparation, funerals teams, baptism teams, liturgy teams etc. The pathway ahead must surely open up real possibilities for people to lead the community in prayer and in action. At the same time, let us continue to pray and work for vocations to priesthood, the permanent diaconate, the religious life and lay ministry. We are all called to work in the vineyard of the Lord.
Like Simon Peter in this Sunday’s Gospel reading, let us declare our faith in the Lord who truly guides us on the right path. ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God’ (John 6: 68-69).
I ask for your prayers for the priests included in these changes, that the Lord will bless them and guide them in their new roles and places. And please continue to pray for me.
Bishop of Clogher