THE parish priest of Drumragh, Monsignor Joseph Donnelly, has announced his retirement from the role after 15 years serving the people of the Omagh area.
Speaking at Masses in both the Sacred Heart Church and St Mary’s Drumragh at the weekend, the Draperstown native spoke of his pride at the time he has spent locally.
He has reached retirement age of 75 and is being replaced as PP by Fr Eugene Hasson.
Fr Christopher McDermott is coming to the parish as curate.
Monsignor Donnelly said he always knew that the day when he would leave the Drumragh Parish would inevitably arrive.
“I have had much time for reflection on what I needed to do and this is decision is the right one to take,” he said.
“My profound thanks is offered to all parishioners for the privilege that it has been to minister in this parish.
“It was in 1966 that my ministry began here following ordination.
“Now, some 51 years later, I’m completing my ministry after some 15 years as PP. Omagh has changed very much since the 1960s.
“But there is one aspect of Omagh life which hasn’t changed and remained constant – I have always found the people here to be very welcoming and friendly.”
Monsignor Donnelly said that despite the criticism directed at the Church during recent times, his experience locally had always been a positive one.
“People have been welcoming and kind in all aspects of parish life. I am grateful for the support that has been given to me during my time in Drumragh.”