Bishop: Diocese suffering due to decline in priest numbers

Bishop John Buckley has said the declining number of priests is impacting more and more on his diocese as he announced plans to prioritise hospital chaplaincies and the pastoral care of the sick, dying, and bereaved.

The Bishop of Cork and Ross delivered the warning yesterday as he announced a number of clerical changes in the diocese.

“What community can be without a priest,” he asked, “when the doctor says ‘there is no more I can do’?”

This year, four priests have retired on grounds of age: Monsignor Leonard O’Brien (Clonakilty), Fr Tom Riordan (Kilbrittain), Canon Tom Kelleher (Courceys), and Canon Tadhg Ó Mathuna.

The latter, however, will continue to work as an assistant priest in Blackrock.

However, the parishes of Our Lady Crowned in Mayfield; Ballincollig; and Bantry will be reduced while the chaplain has been withdrawn from St Aidan’s Community College in Dublin Hill.

Bishop Buckley said he appreciated the assistance of two retired bishops in the diocese. Archbishop Coveney, who was formerly Apostolic Nuncio to Greece, continues to work in Crosshaven parish while Bishop Padraig O’Don-oghue has worked as an assistant priest in Bantry for the past three years and will now provide assistance to Ballincollig parish.

Bishop Buckley also acknowledged the support of the religious orders in filling diocesan vacancies.

He has appointed Rev Dr Aidan O’Driscoll as parish priest of Clonakilty and vicar general of Ross. He was formerly president of Farranferris College.

Dr Noel O’Sullivan has been appointed to the theology faculty at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and Rev Dr Charles Kiely has been appointed director of pastoral development to succeed Fr Sean O’Sullivan, who has been appointed as the parish priest of Monkstown/Passage West.

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Meanwhile, the first regular monthly ‘Mass’ in Cork’s new Orthodox Christian parish will take place on Saturday, and not Sunday as was mistakenly reported on Tuesday.

Members of the Queen of All parish on Leeside have extended an open invitation to people to attend the celebration of the divine liturgy ceremony, which will be celebrated by Fr David Lonergan, at 10.30am in the Third Chapel of the Holy Trinity Friary on Fr Matthew Quay on Saturday.

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