Bishop Fintan Gavin announces changes to appointments of priests in the Diocese of Cork and Ross

Bishops and priests at a pre-Covid Conference for clergy in the Diocese of Cork and Ross in 2020.

The light of faith in our parishes and other faith communities of our Diocese continues to shine even in the cloud of the Covid pandemic. Each of the challenges it presented was responded to with generous and hope-filled commitment by people the length and breadth of the Diocese of Cork and Ross and beyond.

I would like to pay particular tribute to the priests ministering in the diocese for their extraordinary commitment, dedication and generosity to ministry and our community during such a difficult and challenging period.

I have personally witnessed the vitality and warmth of our parishes during my pastoral visits. At the heart of our parishes is a desire and commitment by so many people of all ages in collaboration with priests, deacons and religious, to serve God and to support one another as Christ asks us to.

Even in these strange times some changes are necessary to the appointments of clergy in the Diocese. These appointments also sow seeds for a renewed sense of parish, diocese and faith community which will seek to involve all people of faith in the growth and mission of our parishes.

This is going to involve change — 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.

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.

This will mean parishioners, clergy and religious communities sharing resources, sharing in responsibility and ministry, and strengthening our unity as one Body of Christ. Together we will develop new ways to share the Gospel with people of all ages. Families of Parishes will generate opportunities for involvement in new ministry groups such as Baptism Preparation and Funeral Ministry and others yet to be discovered.  Each Family of Parishes will be served by a group of priests ministering together and collaborating closely with the lay people of those parishes in all aspects of parish life.

Some of these Families of Parishes have already begun to be formed in our Diocese. These priest changes of appointment will see the foundations of more Families of Parishes emerging. Their formation and growth will be supported by the Office for Mission and Ministry and I am happy to appoint Fr. Chris O’Donovan as Episcopal Vicar for Mission and Ministry in the Diocese to co-ordinate this.  These are early first steps by way of piloting the idea of Families of Parishes and I am grateful to those priests and parishes who have agreed to be part of this new pastoral approach and hopefully we can learn from your experience.

This is a challenging time to be taking on a new appointment. I appreciate the commitment being given by all the priests involved in these changes. I also wish to thank each of the priests who are retiring for their many years of service in the Diocese and wish them every blessing in their new chapter of life’s journey.

The following changes will take effect from Saturday 4th September next:

  • Canon Dan Crowley Parish Priest of St. Patrick’s to retire with Fr. Eoin Whooley to be Administrator of St. Patrick’s and Parish Priest of South Parish as part of a Family of Parishes in the City Centre area
  • Fr. Patrick J. McCarthy Administrator of Ardfield/Rathbarry to retire with Mons. Aidan O’Driscoll to be Administrator of Ardfield/Rathbarry and Parish Priest of Clonakilty as part of a Family of Parishes in the Clonakilty area
  • Fr. Gerard Galvin Parish Priest of Muintir Bháire to retire with Canon Martin O’Driscoll to be Administrator of Muintir Bháire and Parish Priest of Bantry as part of a Family of Parishes in the Bantry area
  • Canon Robert Brophy Episcopal Vicar for Mission and Ministry to be Parish Priest of Curraheen Road
  • Fr. Alan O’Leary Parish Priest of Schull Parish and Administrator of Goleen Parish to be Parish Priest of Ballincollig
  • Fr. J. Criostóir MacDonald Parish Priest of Curraheen Road Parish to be Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s Mayfield
  • Fr. Ted Sheehan Parish Priest of Glounthaune to be Chaplain to Defence Forces in Collins Barracks
  • Fr. Damian O’Mahony Curate in the Cathedral, Blackpool/The Glen/Ballyvolane and Sunday’s Well Parishes to be Parish Priest of Glounthaune
  • Fr. Myles McSweeney Priest-in-Charge of St. Joseph’s Mayfield to be Parish Priest of Schull Parish and Administrator of Goleen Parish
  • Fr. Chris O’Donovan returning from sabbatical leave having pursued studies in the University of Leuven to be Episcopal Vicar for Mission and Ministry and Assistant Priest in Turner’s Cross Parish
  • Fr. Sean Crowley Chaplain to the Defence Forces to be Curate in The Cathedral, Blackpool/The Glen/Ballyvolane and Sunday’s Well Parishes
  • Mons. Finbarr O’Leary Curate in Timoleague Parish to retire
  • Fr. Fergus Touhy SMA Curate in Wilton Parish to be Curate in Clonakilty Parish
  • Fr. Sibi Arackal Curate in Clonakilty Parish to undertake studies in Clinical Pastoral Education
  • Fr. Jilson Kokkandathil from the Diocese of Mananthavady India to be Curate in South Parish and St. Patrick’s Parish as well as Chaplain to the Syro Malabar Community in the Diocese of Cork and Ross
  • Fr. Joyel John Michael IC to be chaplain to Cork University Hospital pro tem

As our parishes re-open we look forward cautiously to better times as we prepare to celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation and reconnect and restart many parish groups and ministries.

With prayerful good wishes

Your sincerely in Christ

✠ Fintan Gavin, Bishop of Cork and Ross