The Marist Fathers in Ireland have announced they will no longer serve the parish of the Holy Family Church in Dundalk, due to a shortage of priests available to continue working in the community there.
In a video statement broadcast on Facebook on Sunday afternoon (see below), Father Cormac McNamara confirmed the news, saying the priests will stay working in the parish until the Autumn of 2021.
“The Marist priests have been reflecting on our presence in Ireland, in light of our changing circumstances. These circumstances include the ageing and dwindling number of Irish arts priests, whose average age is 74,” he said.
“Regrettably, we are no longer in a position to sustain our community in Holy Family or to provide a parish team serve the people there. I realise that this news will come as a huge shock to our parishioners and friends at Holy.
“We are conscious that Marists have served the parish and Holy Family for almost 40 years. It has been a privilege for us Marists to be able to contribute to a range of pastoral activities in the Armagh archdiocese since 1861 – in the fields of education, parishes, caring of young people, chaplaincy and other ministries.”
Fr McNamara, who was made parish administrator of Holy Family in Dundalk in February 2018, added that the priests were currently liaising with the Archdiocese of Armagh about the transition and that the parish in Muirhevnamor will remain in Marist hands until the Autumn of next year.
He also said the Marist presence would continue in the town through their community at Cerdon, on St Mary’s Road in the town. Holy Family Church in Muirhevnamor is one of nine communities and parishes run by the Marist in Ireland, three of which are in Dundalk.