THE Parish Priest of Cappagh, Fr Eugene Boland will return to church duties next week, following a “long and painful” battle to restore his reputation.
Fr Eugene was found not guilty of indecent assault last June, following an eight day trial. The Killyclogher priest had stepped down from his role as PP in 2010 when the charges were made.
Fr Boland had faced five charges of indecent assault on a 14-year-old girl in the Parochial House, Derry City, on unknown dates between June 1990 and June 1992. He was acquitted of all charges.
“It is with a sense of great joy and anticipation that I return to public ministry in my parish of Cappagh with my good name and standing in the Church fully restored,” he told the Tyrone Herald yesterday.
“The journey over the past three years and eleven months which has involved a civil and church process, both of which have completely and unreservedly exonerated me, has been a long and painful one.
“This journey has demanded time and effort, prayer and preparation in my life and in the lives of many others, not least my parishioners. As I recommence the exercise of the sacred ministry, I am aware it will involve a period of readjustment. And I appeal for your continued support, guidance and patience.
“Throughout this journey I have been sustained and encouraged by the countless prayers and support of my family, colleagues, parishioners past and present and many friends. In all of this, I only had one goal in mind, namely to return as soon as possible to my parish of Cappagh and resume the priestly ministry.
“Now that the church process has been completed, I would first of all like to express my gratitude to Archbishop Eamon Martin for his support and diligence on my behalf and the Diocesan Chancellor Fr Paul McCafferty.
“Finally my heartfelt thanks to the Diocesan administrator Fr Francis Bradley who also worked tirelessly to bring this matter to a successful conclusion.
“I am eagerly looking forward to celebrating the sacraments with my parishioners once again and being involved with all the ministries for which I was ordained 44 years ago. I ask God and his blessed mother to continue to bless and guide me in the priestly ministry amongst his holy people.
“In conclusion I ask to you to keep me in your prayers which have sustained me over these past years.”
Fr Francis Bradley, the Diocesan Administrator, will reinstate Fr Eugene at the Vigil Mass on Saturday next (March 15) at 7.30pm in St Mary’s Killyclogher after which, all parishioners are invited to the Parish Centre for light refreshments.