Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ballintra Priest may resign

Parishioners of the Laghey Barr chapel, which hasn't had an masses said for 5 years, are upset over plan by the priest for the area to sell the chapel. The priest may have offered his resignation because of this:
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/0910/1220919678292.html

THE PRIEST at the centre of a row with parishioners over the future of a church without a tabernacle has tendered his resignation.

Fr Séamus Dagens (55) has notified Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe of his intention to quit following a clash with parishioners over his plans to sell the tiny St Colmcille's chapel at Laghey Barr, Co Donegal. He has confirmed he has given notice of his intention to resign as parish priest of Ballintra, but has declined to give details.

Fr Dagens is the sole priest in a parish where the only Masses are offered in the main church, St Bridget's in Ballintra village. There has been no Sunday Mass at St Colmcille's, six miles away, since friars in the Franciscan community at nearby Rossnowlagh withdrew their back-up service to the parish five years ago because of dwindling numbers ...

See the article for more details. But, it seems this is due to lack of new priests and the gradual decrease in church goers. The priest and parishioners are stuck between a rock and a hard place, the church can't afford to run the chapel and the locals can bear to see it go (and there's not enough locals to warrant their own priest).

Some information about Drumholm parish:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drumholm

And the parish's homepage:

http://www.raphoediocese.com/ballintra.htm

UPDATE: See the 1st comment below for some insight from someone from the area, and for corrections to some of my assumptions.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is not what this is about. I write as a parishioner of Ballintra. All we at Laghey Barr have asked is to keep the Chapel open as a place of Prayer. For one Mass a month there. There has never been more than one Priest in Ballintra; no curate, and all these years with no Mass we have prayed the Rosary in our Chapel faithfully each week; and we have maintained the Chapel ourselves at our own expense and are happy to go on doing so. The numbers at Mass at Laghey Barr have always been high. The Chapel is and always has been at the very heart of our community life. We have been treated harshly by Fr Dagens, sadly, he refusing to meet with the parish to talk with us. The actual cost for the five years there has been no mass has been in total E1500... we have offered to source and pay and transport a priest ourselves.

Mick T. said...

Anon,

Thanks for the comment and for providing insight into this.

Mick

Anonymous said...

No problem:) Well, last weekend, the Bishop finally intervened. So the Chapel has now been given into our care. Fr Dagens has been told to restore the Tabernacle, wich he removed,to switch the light and heating back on, which he also removed, and we have been given permission to source a priest to say Mass here once again. Which is all we ever sought. And the priest has of course withdrawn his resignation . It has taken five years.. Blessings....