BISHOP of Waterford and Lismore Alphonsus Cullinan has confirmed a shake-up in parish appointments, including the redeployment of a much-loved parish priest after 17 years of being a “central part” of the Dunmore East and wider community.
Over 300 people have signed an online petition asking the Bishop not to move Very Rev Fr Brian Power from the parish of Killea, Crooke and Faithlegg, where he has dutifully served as parish priest for almost two decades.
Christine Rossiter, who started the petition, said the Bishop’s announcement has left the community “stunned and devastated”.
“Fr Power has been at the heart of this community for 17 years and we do not want to lose him,” she explained.
Meanwhile, Helen Millea felt that Fr Power should be allowed to stay in the parish until his retirement, saying it wasn’t nice for any, “priest who is settled any parish for that many years to have to up sticks and move on”.
“He has been with us through a lot of hardship and has helped people through. Just ask those families what he means to us all,” she added.
Meanwhile, The Strand Inn captured the feeling of some in the community, by posting: “Everyone in Dunmore East is very upset to see him go, he’s been an incredible priest and great friend to everyone in Dunmore East for the last 17 years. He has held the village together at some very difficult times when it’s been needed. He’s christened, married and buried so many of our loved ones over the last nearly two decades that nobody actually wants him to leave.”
Despite this, the Bishop confirmed that Fr Power is to take up his new position as Parish Priest of Kilsheelan and Kilcash on September 1, and will have increased time for his duties as Vicar for Clergy. His appointment is following the retirement of Fr William Carey, who is assuming the title of Pastor Emeritus. Fr Carey was ordained to the priesthood in 1961 and has given a lifetime of dedicated service to the Diocese.
In a statement issued to the Waterford News & Star on Monday detailing parish appointments and changes, Bishop Cullinan said, “Fr Power has served in his current role for 17 years and will be greatly missed by all the people in Killea, Crooke and Faithlegg, where he has become a central part of the community.”
Bishop Cullinan confirmed that Fr PJ Breen is to take over from Fr Power as Parish Priest of area.
“Fr Breen, a native of Dungarvan, was incardinated in the Diocese in May 2021 after serving 19 years with the Carmelite Order. The Parish of St Joseph’s and Benildus and St Mary’s, where he ministered for the past 15 months, have thanked him for his ‘impressive competency and generosity of spirit’ and have expressed that he will be a loss to the community.”
However, this parish is getting a new addition as Fr Pat Gear is to return to his native city to take up a new appointment of co-parish priest. He will be working with Fr Liam Power in the parish of St Joseph & Benildus and St Mary’s.
Meanwhile, in a “great honour” for Tramore’s Fr Shane O’Neill, he is to join the staff at the National Seminary at St Patrick’s College in Maynooth as part of their Formation Team.
Other changes being made across the Dioceses include the appointment of Fr Jim Denmead as Parish Priest of Touraneena and the Nire, linking in with Ardfinnan and Newcastle. He makes the move from his role as Assistant Pastor in Cappoquin.
In turn, Fr Martin Keogh is to become the Parish Priest of Cappoquin and Modeligo and Affane, linking into Lismore, Tallow, Ballyduff Upper and Knockanore.
Finally, Fr Garrett Desmond is to become Parish Priest of Newtown and Kill. He will also be linked to the parishes of Portlaw and Ballyduff.
Bishop Cullinan said, “This time of year is when new appointments for clergy are announced. I am very conscious of the faithful service that of all of our priests have generously provided to their respective parish communities. I wish to thank each and every one of our priests for their ongoing pastoral leadership and their unstinting sacramental and spiritual support for their parishioners.
“The life of our diocese relies on the willingness and availability of priests to accept new appointments. The departure of a priest marks an ending and a loss. As Christians we are invited to recognise that all our endings are also new beginnings. I pray God’s blessing on all those who are undertaking their ministry over the next few weeks in new pastures,” Bishop Cullinan said.