A lack of vocations and a combination of deaths, illnesses, and retirements in the Diocese of Kerry have left five of the dioceses’ 53 parishes without resident priests.
Ballyheigue and Duagh join Valentia Island, Tarbert, and Allihies in west Cork, in being being served by priests in nearby pastoral areas, with the effect that in those areas “no priest is full-time in his own parish”, according to Bishop Ray Browne.
Announcing diocesan appointments for the coming year, Dr Browne praised the important role of Kerry’s laity and said he was trying to limit the number of appointments owing to how many movements there had been last year. “Each movement has a significant effect on priests and people throughout the whole local pastoral area,” he said.
Although just one priest in Kerry is under 40, next year should see Kerry’s first priestly ordination in 10 years, however, and four other seminarians are currently in formation.