A SHORTAGE of priests means there will be just one Parish Priest for both St Peter’s and St Paul’s parishes, it has been revealed.
However, Bishop John McAreavey has denied creating ‘super parishes’ with a reorganisation of priests across the Diocese of Dromore.
Dr McAreavey said the changes were necessary due to a fall in vocations and an aging clerical population.
From November there will be one parish priest for Lurgan’s two parishes - St Peter’s and St Paul’s - Monsignor Aidan Hamill.
However it was stressed that the parishes were not merging and would retain their individuality.
Monsignor Hamill told the Mail: “The intention of the Bishop is that the parishes in the diocese will retain their separate identities.”
The Monsignor explained that Bishop McAreavey has made diocesan changes to take account of new pastoral areas. “These changes are in the context of the new pastoral areas. However each parish will retain their individual identity.”
This was also emphasised by Dr McAreavey: “These are no super parishes. They are adjacent parishes.
“The parishes will retain their own identity, their own finances or debt, their own internal structures in terms of councils and organisations.”
He said there was a ‘shortage’ of priests in the diocese but the changes would ‘increase cooperation and flexibility because in a sense we don’t have the personnel any longer and it will probably decrease rather than increase’.
“We are trying to make sure the Church is able to continue to provide services that people need, such as the Mass and sacraments,” he said.
However, Dr McAreavey acknowledged there was a risk attached to making one priest responsible for more than one parish.
“The danger would be that if we have our priests spread too thin he might actually lose contact with people or people would have lost their sense of affinity or knowledge of him.”
The bishop said the grouping of parishes had taken place on three occasions in the past with ‘smaller rural parishes that were adjacent and had a similar kind of character’.
Monsignor Aidan Hamill who is currently the Parish Priest of St Peter’s will also be PP for St Paul’s. He will be assisted by curates Fr Jusef Wozniak, Fr Mario Jachym and Fr Conor McConville.
The curate in Moyraverty, Fr Desmond Mooney will now also be curate in Seagoe.
Changes to the Dromore Diocese are as follows:
Very Rev Canon Cathal Jordan, P.P., Seagoe, retires, becomes Pastor emeritus,
Right Rev Monsignor Aidan Hamill, P.P., St Peter’s Parish, Lurgan, also becomes P.P., St Paul’s Parish, Lurgan;
Very Rev Michael Maginn, P.P., St Paul’s, Lurgan, to be chaplain, Craigavon Hospital and Lurgan Hospital and a member of pastoral team in Moyraverty and Seagoe; Very Rev Patrick J Murray, P.P., Dromore to be P.P., Moyraverty and Seagoe
Very Rev Martin McAlinden, P.P., Moyraverty, to be Diocesan Director of Adult Faith Formation and P.P., Dromore;
Rev Desmond Mooney, C.C., Moyraverty to be C.C., Moyraverty and Seagoe; Rev Andrew McMahon, C.C., St Paul’s parish, Lurgan, takes up a pastoral appointment in Australia; Rev Jusef Wozniak, Society of Christ, to be C.C. St Peter’s Parish and St Paul’s parish, Lurgan; Rev Mario Jachym, Society of Christ, C.C., St Peter’s, Lurgan, to be C.C., St Peter’s Parish and St Paul’s parish, Lurgan; Rev Conor McConville, C.C., Newry, to be C.C., St Peter’s Parish and St Paul’s Parish, Lurgan;
Rev. Stephen Crossan, chaplain Craigavon Area Hospital and C.C., Tullylish to be C.C., Seapatrick.