In the past nine months five priests of our diocese have died, may they Rest in Peace. All were retired and of a good age and had given long years of great faith-filled service. Last year three priests of our diocese retired having passed the age of 75. This year one priest retires on this ground. At the moment three of our priests are coping with long-term serious ill-health.
Within the next year, God willing, Sean Jones will be ordained a priest for the diocese. It will be exactly ten years since our last priestly ordination. Just one priest of our diocese is under forty. Thankfully we have four other students preparing for priesthood. I ask that we all continue to pray for these students and for vocations to the priesthood in the diocese.
This year too saw a major milestone in the diocese, the closure of Balloonagh Convent,Tralee after more than 160 years. We offer our support, sympathy and gratitude to all the Mercy communities throughout the diocese. To this day, in ‘ordinary retirement’ so many Sisters continue to be involved in many practical ways in their local parish. It is a coincidence that we celebrate a ‘Year of Mercy’. The Sisters for generations as communities and as individuals moved with MERCY among us, tending quietly to so many needs of individuals, of families and of local communities. May every parish community take pride in continuing that great tradition of ‘Mercy where there is need’. Thank God for the great service of all religious communities.
It is in this overall context that the appointments are made this summer. I have tried to keep the number of new appointments to a minimum this year, mindful that there were a large number last year. Each movement has a significant effect on priests and people throughout the whole local Pastoral Area.
The appointments involve two more parishes without a resident priest. I realise that this in particular will cause upset and be unsettling for both priests and people. The total number of parishes without a resident priest is now five. The challenge is that these parishes and all our parishes have the fullness of Church life in a time of less and less priests. If in a Pastoral Area there are four parishes and just three priests, then no priest is full-time in his own parish. A quarter of each priest’s time is dedicated to the fourth parish that is without a resident priest.
The fullness of parish life in each parish is only possible because of the faith, generosity and commitment to their parish of so many individuals and families. Thank God for the voluntary service people of all ages give to their own parishes. It is their responsibility by virtue of their call in Baptism and Confirmation. Overall it is clear that more and more responsibility for life in the parish is in the hands of the laity. It is the same spirit of service to the parish that we see in all areas of local community life: the G.A.A., Amateur Drama, Kerry Parents and Friends, Bridge Clubs, etc. Thank God so many people find it life–giving to give freely of their time to activities in their community.
Many volunteers in our parishes are resourced for their work by participation in Pastoral Ministry Courses, Youth Ministry Courses or other programmes provided by the team at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre. I express my appreciation and gratitude for all who have contributed to the life of all our parishes over the past year. I invite all to be confident in the vibrancy of our parishes and to recommit to service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“May your love be upon us O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.” Ps32:22
Bishop Ray Browne. 1 July 2016
Bishop Ray Browne wishes to announce the following changes of appointment of clergy in the Diocese of Kerry July 2016:
Fr. Bill Radley PP Glenflesk.
Mgr. Sean Hanafin PP St. John’s Tralee on Sabbatical until July 2017
Fr. Tom Leane PP Ballyheigue to be PP Dromtarriffe
Fr. Liam Comer PP Dromtarriffe to be PP Ardfert
Fr.Tadhg Fitzgerald PP Ardfert to be PP St John’s Tralee
Fr. George Hayes Vice-Rector Irish College Rome to be PP Glenflesk
Fr. Pat Moore to retire as PP of Duagh due to health reasons
Rev. Sean Jones newly ordained Deacon to his Pastoral Placement in the Listowel Pastoral area
Following the transfer of Fr. Tom Leane PP, the parish of Ballyheigue will be served by the priests of the Naomh Bhréanainn Pastoral Area, with Fr. Liam Comer as Moderator.
Following Fr. Pat Moore retiring as PP of Duagh, the parish of Duagh will be served by the priests of the Listowel Pastoral Area with Fr Declan O’ Connor as Moderator.
Priests of all Pastoral Areas of the Diocese take up different responsibilities outside their own parishes in the Pastoral Area. This will be decided and communicated locally.
These changes will become effective on Wednesday, July 20th 2016.