Bishop crosses the sea to meet island parishioners

This past weekend Bishop Fintan visited the parish with one church on the mainland, at Rath, and the other two churches on the islands of Sherkin and Oiléan Cléire.

Bishop Fintan leaving the ferry after his visit to Sherkin Island during the bishop’s pastoral visit to Rath and the Islands Parish.

It was a weekend of ferry trips and meeting people. He celebrated the Saturday evening Mass on Sherkin Island and the Vigil and Sunday Morning Masses in Rath.

Eleven years ago Rath and the Islands was among the first parishes with three church communities without a priest resident in the parish.

In his homily Bishop Fintan said ‘that this summer two more parishes in the diocese will be without a resident priest’. 

Parishioners will be called on more and more to be active in the life of their parishes in leadership and in ministry as well as reaching out to others with the Good News.

The two diocesan clergy, Fr Michael and Fr Evin, who serve the needs of this parish live in Skibbereen.

Bishop Fintan met the groups and representatives who have maintained the churches, organise parish life and are working on a sustainable pastoral and financial future for this unique parish.

He also met Fr Des who, having retired from Manchester diocese and coming to live on Sherkin, took on the role of providing Mass on Oileán Cléire each week.

Bishop Fintan with many of those who organised the fundraising and painting of Séipéal Naomh Chiaráin on Cape Clear Island during the bishop’s pastoral visit to Rath and the Islands Parish.

Bishop Fintan also saw the extensive refurbishment of Rath Church completed in 2009 and the interior and exterior painting of the churches on Sherkin and Oileán Cléire organised by the people in the past few years.

Bishop Fintan meeting the Daly and Whooley families after Mass at the Sacred Heart Church, Rath, with Fr Evin O’Brien CC.
Bishop Fintan Gavin with the congregation after the Vigil Mass in St. Mona’s Church, Sherkin Island during the bishop’s pastoral visit to Rath and the Islands Parish. (Photo Robbie Murphy)

For further photographs and information about this special weekend see Rath and Islands Parish Facebook Page.