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No Communions for now, but ‘radical change’ for the diocese is on the way

August 8th, 2021 11:40 PM

By Siobhan Cronin

Bishop Gavin: There are no immediate plans to resume the celebration

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THERE are no plans in West Cork for Communions or Confirmations this summer, the Bishop of Cork has said.

Following some other Irish bishops saying they would defy government advice and proceed with the sacraments, Cork’s Bishop Fintan Gavin issued a statement to The Southern Star this week.

‘At this time, there are no immediate plans to resume the celebration of first reconciliation, First Holy Communion Masses and the sacrament Confirmation in the Diocese of Cork and Ross. Bishop Fintan is keeping the matter under review,’ a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that the parishes of Ardfield/Rathbarry and Muintir Bháire will no longer have a resident parish priest ministering only in that parish.

Announcing the retirement of four priests, Bishop Fintan also appointed Barryroe native Fr Chris O’Donovan, returning from study leave, and formerly based in Skibbereen, to guide what the bishop calls the formation of ‘families of parishes’ in the diocese to ‘re-configure’ communities.

‘For the foreseeable future, more families of parishes will develop in the diocese whereby a number of parishes will form a bond between them which sustains the pastoral life of these parishes,’ the bishop said. 

‘This will mean parishioners, clergy and religious communities sharing resources, sharing in responsibility and ministry.

Bishop Fintan says that this is a challenging time to be taking on a new appointment. 

The following diocesan changes will be among those taking effect from September 4th: Fr Patrick J McCarthy, administrator of Ardfield/Rathbarry to retire with Mons Aidan O’Driscoll to be administrator of Ardfield/Rathbarry and PP Clonakilty; Fr Gerard Galvin Parish Priest of Muintir Bháire to retire with Canon Martin O’Driscoll to be administrator of Muintir Bháire and PP Bantry; Fr Alan O’Leary PP Schull and administrator of Goleen parish to be PP Ballincollig; Fr Myles McSweeney of St Joseph’s Mayfield to be PP Schull and administrator, Goleen; Fr Chris O’Donovan to be episcopal vicar for mission and ministry and assistant priest in Turner’s Cross, Cork; Mons Finbarr O’Leary, curate in Timoleague to retire; Fr Fergus Touhy SMA curate, Wilton to be curate, Clonakilty; Fr Sibi Arackal, curate in Clonakilty, to undertake studies.

Bishop Gavin said the diocese would experience ‘radical change’. 

‘We have to re-configure our parish faith communities for mission so that we can live and share the good news of Jesus Christ, reaching out to those on the margins of our church community, those who may have drifted away, our young people and those hurt by the Church,’ the Bishop added.

He said that parishioners, clergy and religious communities would now need to ‘share resources, responsibility and ministry’ and ‘develop new ways to share the Gospel with people of all ages’.

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