THE Bishop of Kerry has responded to a suggestion that one of the priests from the Killarney parish should move to reside in Kilcummin to carry out his duties from there.
The call was made at a public meeting of parishioners who are upset that they are to be left without a resident priest with future Masses and other service being provided and shared by priests from the Killarney Pastoral Area.
In a letter responding to questions raised by locals, Bishop Ray Browne said it was important to consider the workload of the three priests in Killarney which included duties in St Mary’s Cathedral and two other churches, three nursing homes, a mental health facility, the Kerry Parents and Friends and the KDYS.
“Last year Killarney had over 110 funerals and over 100 weddings. It has eight national schools with close on two thousand children in them. It has three secondary schools with possibly 1,600 students,” the bishop wrote, adding that Killarney caters for a population of 15,000 and people from other parishes often attend various Masses and services in the town.
“Is it realistic that a Killarney curate would do all his ministry from the parochial house in Kilcummin?” he asked.
Bishop Browne said the pastoral area also has priests in Glenflesk, Firies and Fossa and they will work with the three priests in Killarney to provide a full service for Kilcummin.
He also reacted to comments raised about the need to have two priests working as chaplains in hospitals in Tralee, saying they provide emergency cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Most deaths now take place in hospital as in the past 20 years, a trend has emerged of very few sick calls in the parishes, he noted.
The chaplains also have to cater for the needs of very ill patients, those facing surgery, undergoing cancer treatment, patients in coronary care and others, he explained.
“Overall, could it be said that the two hospital chaplains are the main carers for the dying and the seriously ill of all fifty three parishes of our diocese?“ the bishop asked.
Bishop Browne assured the people that Kilcummin would remain a full independent parish with all of its finances and property 100 per cent secure and he acknowledged the upset and sadness experienced by parishioners on the loss of their resident priest.
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