Fr Pat Hogan, pictured in Southill. He is moving across the city to serve in the Corpus Christi parish at Moyross
AFTER almost eight months without a permanent priest, a northside parish in Limerick city will finally welcome a new pastor.
The Limerick Diocese has announced a series of changes to personnel – and this included former Southill parish priest Fr Pat Hogan making a move to the northside.
Fr Hogan, alongside his duties as chaplain to the Travelling community in the city, will take on the role of Corpus Christi’s parish priest, as well as ministering in the team of priests serving the neighbouring areas of St Munchin’s and St Leilia’s.
The changes have been welcomed across the estate, which has been without a permanent priest since Jesuit Fr Tony O’Riordan left on sabbatical just after Christmas.
Corpus Christi school principal Tiernan O’Neill said: “It’s a huge fillip for the community. It’s a tremendous boost. The church has always been a key presence in Moyross. It has a tremendous role to play in the social regeneration of the area. Someone like Fr Pat has a great insight and understanding of the social context of the community, and I feel he will hit the ground running.”
Community activist, and Limerick Leader notes correspondent Jude Meaney added: “There has been a fantastic reaction among the community. He is a fantastically popular man on a par with Fr Tony. It was something the parish really needed.”
Mr Meaney said Fr Hogan will re-engage with youth in the area and help secure the best resources possible for Moyross.
“He has already been chairman of the board of management of the school since Fr O’Riordan left in January,” he noted.
Elsewhere, the changes will see the return of Canon Gerard Garrett to the diocese, taking over in Monaleen after almost 30 years serving with the marriage tribunal in Cork.
He replaces Monsignor Dan Neenan, who is moving to Adare where he will assume the role of parish priest.
He in turn will replace Fr Joe Noonan, who is retiring as Adare parish priest.
Fr Richard Keane, meanwhile, returns from Toronto where he was studying Canon Law for two years. He will take up the post of Administrator of Cratloe where Fr. Liam Enright is retiring as Parish Priest.
He will also be ministering in the Thomond Area as well as taking up the role of Diocesan Vocations Director and Judicial Vicar of the Cork Regional Marriage Tribunal.
The final change will see former Moyross parish priest Fr Frank O’Dea become assistant director of the Diocesan Lourdes pilgrimage.
The return of the two priests to the Limerick diocese will ease the pressure of work on priests across the diocese, the Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy acknowledged when he announced clerical changes.
But the future will be “very much one of greater lay involvement”, he added, and the coming year will see a number of other initiatives introduced arising from last year’s Synod which looked at the future of the church in Limerick.
Commenting on the changes, Bishop Leahy said: “We all know the challenges we face from dwindling vocations but this year we have relatively few changes, thanks in large part to both Canon Gerard and Fr. Richard returning. A small number of priests have taken on additional duties and I am very conscious of the workload on all our priests. No more than any organisation would be with regard to the work of their people, we are all indebted to them for their generosity and dedication.”
The Bishop paid particular tribute on their retirement to Fr. Joe Noonan and Fr. Liam Enright “for their unstinting service over many, many years.”
“They have been worthy disciples through their commitment across Church and community and we wish them every best in their much deserved retirement in the years ahead,” he said.
It was already announced earlier his month that Fr Chris O’Donnell is to move to Dublin for a year to help write the sixth class religion book that will be part of the programme produced by Veritas, Grow in Love.