Monday, January 28, 2008

Cathedral could be OPW museum in fifty years time, priest warns

A Kilkenny priest has warned that the city’s cathedral could end up as a museum because of dwindling financial support for Catholic parishes and the complete absence of new priests in the diocese of Ossory.

Fr Ollie Maher was reported in the ‘Kilkenny People’ newspaper as telling his congregation in St Mary’s Cathedral that while people still brought their children to church for baptisms and holy communions, only one person in five was contributing to church collections.

“People are falling away from the church yet they are bringing their children for baptism and First Communion” he remarked.

He asked whether parishioners of the cathedral would be happy to find in fifty years time that it was being run by the Office of Public Works as a museum to which tourists would be brought on guided tours and told St Mary’s had once been a place of worship.

Fr Maher said that a mere 20 per cent of parishioners were paying for the upkeep of the parish and the cathedral for the other 80 per cent who occasionally used its facilities.

And he said the situation was compounded by the fact that there had been no ordinations recently in the diocese of Ossory and that even if a young man started now to study for the priesthood, it would be seven years before he would be ordained.

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