Dubliners launch petition to keep Co Wicklow priest
A KNOCKANANNA native serving as a parish priest in Dublin’s East Wall is so beloved by the community that they launched a petition to plead with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to keep him where is he.
Fr Hugh Kavanagh who hails from the south Wicklow village has ministered in Dublin since ordination and has spent the past five years in East Wall.
He recently learned that he is to move to Neilstown Parish at the end of September.
Upon hearing the news, his distraught parishioners launched a petition which achieved 1,400 signatures which was then presented to the Archbishop’s office.
‘I am surprised that the story has received such attention. I doubt things will change but I have to say that I am deeply moved and humbled at the efforts that people have made. There were many people gathered at the church at the weekend for this purpose in drizzly weather, including young mothers and children and it was so moving that they would do so, on my behalf,’ Fr Kavanagh said.
He likened East Wall to a small village albeit in a large urban area.
‘People think East Wall is just a part of the inner city where nobody knows anybody else. This is not the case. It’s a real community where people know their neighbours. There are parents living on one road and sons and daughters on another. From the first day I arrived five years ago, they had made me feel so welcome and part of this community. Once you are part of this, they want to keep you a part of it,’ he said.
Fr Kavanagh said that he also feels for Archbishop Martin who faces the difficult job of trying to man parishes in the face of an ageing priesthood with reduced numbers of ordinations.
Fr Hugh Kavanagh.