St Mel's Cathedral, Longford: ‘Demands on ageing priests’ prompt end of weekend Mass at two Longford churches
The ‘greater demands on an ageing group of priests’ combined with ‘a dwindling worshipping community’ have prompted the priests of Templemichael and Ballymacormack to announce that they will no longer be able to provide a weekend Mass in St Michael's Church, Shroid; St Anne's Church, Curry or St Joseph's Care Centre, Dublin Road, Longford town.
The priests - Fr James MacKiernan, Fr Tony Gilhooly, Fr Michael McGrath and Fr Joseph Ukut, however, stressed that ‘there is no intention to close St Michael's or St Anne's completely at this time’. And they say they will be able to provide Baptisms for couples from the local area, weddings and funerals and ‘the possibility of a weekday Mass in St Anne's on a Thursday evening at 7.30pm’.
Boosted by a brilliant start that yielded a couple of crucial goals in the space of a minute in the county final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday, Longford Slashers never looked like letting a sweet success slip from their grasp in winning the Senior Hurling Championship title for the first time since 2001.
The number of priests serving in the Parish has declined from 5 to 4 in recent months and is expected to reduce further in the very near future. In addition to this we have been asked to take on additional responsibilities in Annaduff Parish. In neighbouring parishes, priests have reached retirement age and two more will do so in the next two years. As there are no additional priests available to fill the imminent vacancies in those Parishes, the understanding is that our Parish, together with other neighbouring parishes will have to assume responsibility for those parishes which will place greater demands on an ageing group of priests.
As we seriously assess the needs of the Parish, and taking into account the availability of priests, we have decided to focus our celebration of Mass at the weekends in the Cathedral only. We feel that with a larger building, easy accessibility, adequate parking and a reasonable sized congregation, there would be a greater sense of celebration and community by celebrating Mass in the one central Church.
For those reasons we feel that we will no longer be able to provide a weekend Mass in St Michael's Shroid, St Anne's Curry or St Joseph's Care Centre, Dublin Road. There is certainly no intention to close St Michael's or St Anne's completely at this time and we would like to be able to offer some services. We will be able to provide Baptisms for couples from the local area, weddings and funerals and the possibility of a weekday Mass in St Anne's on a Thursday evening at 7.30pm.
This is a very difficult announcement for the people of the Parish who have built, maintained and served the local Church areas for so many years. Regrettably we are unable to continue the same level of service when the demands on priests are multiplying, the age profile of the local clergy is increasing and the possibility of additional priests coming to serve in the Parish is remote.
We hope you understand the rationale for this difficult decision. We trust you will understand the present reality and in turn come to accept the decision as inevitable.”
The 26th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Longford Community Resources (LCRL) was held on Monday, September 13.
As part of this year’s Climate Action Week, which runs from Monday, October 11 to Sunday, October 17, Longford Public Participation Network (PPN) Environmental Representative, Francesca Pawelczyk, is launching the Longford Local Environmental Network.
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