ONE of the oldest priests currently ministering in west Tyrone has outlined his disappointment after he was asked to only con-celebrate masses from now on.
Canon Patrick Marron (88) who has been based in Donacavey, Fintona, for 32 years, says the decision by the Clogher Diocese has left him experiencing ‘disturbed and sleepless nights.’
Canon Marron has told parishioners his most fervent wish now is that this ‘unjust treatment’ ends and that he can return to doing the job he was ordained for 63 years ago.
The Co Monaghan native had been intending to retire from full-time ministry before a recent stay in hospital.
However it was only upon his release from hospital that he was informed of the decision to stop celebrating Mass.
“I asked our lovely curate – well respected and a gentleman – who has been recently appointed would I be saying the 6pm Mass tomorrow evening,” Canon Marron explained.
“He said I would not as I was only allowed to act as con-celebrant… I did not know why this decision was taken, but I accepted it in obedience to my promise as a priest and have always done so.
“After the Mass, the curate told me the decision was taken because I was in hospital.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Clogher Diocese said Canon Marron had served the people of the diocese ‘very generously and faithfully for more than 60 years.’
“Recently he has been in hospital on two occasions and had returned to the parish just last week,” they added.
“Through concern for his health and well-being, he has been asked to con-celebrate Masses in the parish.”