Northern Ireland

Diocesan changes for Down and Connor announced by Bishop Donal McKeown

The clerical changes were announced by Bishop Donal McKeown
The clerical changes were announced by Bishop Donal McKeown

A number of clerical changes have been announced by the Diocese of Down and Connor including four members of the clergy who are to step down as parish priests.

Bishop Donal McKeown thanked Very Rev Anthony Alexander, Very Rev Paul Alexander, Very Rev Anthony Curran and Very Rev Canon Patrick McWilliams for their "many years of ministry and fruitful service".

He said Fr Curran and Fr McWilliams will continue to assist as priests in partial ministry.

Bishop McKeown added that along "with the people of the diocese, I am very grateful to them for their willingness to be of continued pastoral service to the diocese as their circumstances permit".

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Other changes announced by Bishop McKeown, which will take effect from August 19, include the appointment of Fr Gerard Fox as administrator in Ballyclare, in addition to his role as diocesan secretary.

Canon John Murray, in addition to being parish priest of Downpatrick, will take on the role of administrator for Saul, while Fr James O’Reilly will become administrator of Duneane.

Fr Joseph Rooney is to become administrator in Portglenone as well as carrying out the role of judicial vicar and Fr Robert Sloan will move to Ardkeen as administrator.

Fr David Aksenczuk will take on chaplain duties in Antrim Area Hospital and Fr Andrew Black will move to St Mary’s University College, Belfast and assist at weekends in the west Belfast Pastoral Community.

Other appointments will see Fr Edward McGee provide assistance at weekends across the diocese according to need alongside his role at St Mary’s University College, while Fr Robert McMahon is to become CC for Downpatrick.

Fr John O’Laverty is to become CC Holy Family and assist in the Armagh Inter-Diocesan Marriage Tribunal.

Bishop McKeown also said that Canon John Murray and Fr Eugene O’Hagan will help to "assist in the ongoing governance of the diocese".

He also added his thanks" for the ministries" of Fr Kieran Creagh, Fr Gary Donegan, Fr Derek Kearney, Fr Paschal Kearney and Fr Patrick O’Keefe in the diocese.

"I would like to record my thanks to all involved in and affected by these appointments for their co-operation and I wish them God’s blessing, good health and fulfilment in their respective ministries," he said.