Dublin­ers launch pe­ti­tion to keep Co Wick­low priest

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

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.

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