This morning St. Paul writes to the Corinthians “we are only earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us”. I am so aware that the call to priesthood brings with it huge sacrifices yet wonderful graces. Once again this year I am indebted to the very positive engagement I have had with priests in recent weeks as I set about the task of addressing this year’s Diocesan Appointments. I thank the priests who are involved in this year’s changes. Changing an appointment in a priest’s life is neither easy on the priest nor the lay people, priests and religious with whom he has collaborated closely with in his current appointment.
This year’s list of appointments comes a couple of days ahead of our next Diocesan Gathering in Mount St. Anne’s on Tuesday, June 20th. This gathering is a significant first step in the discussion around the Pastoral Letter I wrote for Good Shepherd Sunday on May 7th last. Along with the priests, permanent deacons and religious I have asked that two lay people, involved in the life of their parish also attend Tuesday’s meeting. This meeting is a response to what I spoke about in that recent letter “a radical reappraisal of what a parish community should be, how it should be organised, coordinated, funded and ministered”. Later steps will happen at a more local deanery level involving a much larger group of lay people representing their parishes. Each parish brings with it a very strong identity and a keen sense of ownership. The meeting on June 20th in Mount St. Anne’s begins at the later time of 7.30pm to facilitate a greater attendance and participation.
Of course in the Diocese we all look forward with great anticipation and joy to the Ordination of David Vard to the priesthood in Newbridge on June 25th. David will not only be the youngest priest in the Diocese, but the youngest in the country and possibly the youngest on these islands. He knows he is welcomed warmly into the priesthood by his priest colleagues, religious and lay faithful. We promise him every support and prayer as he becomes that earthenware holding a treasure. We continue to pray for vocations and as promised last year over the coming months I look forward to travelling to the Diocese of Iasi in Romania to firm up a diocesan twinning that allows us to support projects in Romania in exchange for a couple of priests to work in our parishes for a number of years.
Returning to this year’s appointments I want to sincerely thank Fr. Jim and Fr. Brendan who are retiring after many years of service in the vineyard of the Diocese, I want to thank those taking up new appointments and to assure them of every support and prayer in these weeks of transition. The new appointments are all to come into effect on August 1st 2017.
Fr Jim Gahan CC Clonmore / Hacketstown to retire and reside in Clonmore.
Fr Brendan Howard PP Ballon to retire and continue to reside in Clonegal.
Fr Jim O’Connell to become Adm in Ballon.
Fr Tommy Dillon PP Baltinglass to retire as Parish Priest and become CC in Askea / Bennekerry / Tinryland living in Askea.
Fr Ger Ahern PP Abbeyleix to become PP Baltinglass.
Fr John Cummins Adm Cathedral to become PP Abbeyleix.
Fr Ruairi O’Domhnaill CC Cathedral to become Adm Cathedral.
Fr Terence McGovern CC Portlaoise to become CC Hacketstown.
Fr Sean Hyland CC Askea / Bennekerry / Tinryland to become CC Clonbullogue & Rhode, residing in Portarlington.
Fr Liam Lawton will move to Tinryland continuing his role as Diocesan Musical Director.
Fr Brian Maguire SPS CC Newbridge to become CC Cathedral.
Rev. David Vard when ordained will become CC Portlaoise.
effective on August 1st 2017