The Bishop of Limerick has confirmed that former Limerick hurler Canon Willie Fitzmaurice will be moved from Kilmallock to Croom.
Bishop Leahy said: “I had a big chat with Canon Willie over the weekend. He is a great parish priest. He himself accepts the fact that he is moving on as part of the life of a priest.
“He said he is looking forward with confidence to a new chapter of ministry in his life. He thanks and is very grateful to the people of Kilmallock.”
The bishop said he was not surprised so many people in the parish signed a petition to have Canon Fitzmaurice retained in Kilmallock.
“People get very fond of a priest,” he said. “I hadn’t really heard much about it [the petition] until I came back from holidays the other day and two days later it was in the front page of a newspaper. I would have very much have liked to have heard before and I would have come out and explained.”
Canon Fitzmaurice, a native of Killeedy, featured in Limerick inter-county teams in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a county selector.
Bishop Leahy said he met representatives of the parish on Friday to discuss the matter.
“People of course love Willie enormously, and I understand that,” he said. “And people grow very fond of a priest. But we have to share that around and we have to share Canon Willie. But we must also, for a parish’s sake, give them a chance to hear new voices, new insights, new takes on the gospel.”
Bishop Leahy said the Church needs more team ministries and more lay ministry with the development of parish councils.