The Diocese of Clogher has announced changes to Mass times in parishes across the diocese, with effect from the weekend of 6-7 October 2018. These changes are on foot of the recent Pastoral Letter by the Diocesan Administrator, Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, entitled The Future Mission of Our Parishes, a letter which highlighted that the Diocese of Clogher has just 58 priests who are active in parish ministry at present, 28 of whom are aged over 65. The statistics also show that the diocese has just 44 priests under the age of 75, and these are ministering to communities in its 85 churches and 37 parishes.

The changes being announced at Masses this weekend are modest. They follow a series of meetings of priests within the 7 Pastoral Areas (Parish Groupings) over recent weeks, chaired by Mgr McGuinness.

    They show a reduction in the number of Masses across the diocese from 113 at present to 96, a reduction of 15%.

Many parishes will see Masses being rotated between two or even three churches at weekends. In some cases, churches will only have Mass on designated Sundays of each month. The reduction of Masses is to allow for the reduced number of priests to celebrate several Masses on a weekend across parish boundaries in each Pastoral Areas and to provide people with a range of options in each parish and general locality.

Obviously, further changes will become necessary in the period ahead as parishes and Pastoral Areas continue to review local circumstances.

In an accompanying letter which is being read at all Masses this weekend, Mgr McGuinness pointed out that there is a clear recognition of the importance of each church to its local community so ‘that Mass continues to be celebrated in all the churches of the diocese and that every church continues to be a living place of worship. There is no question of any church being closed.’, he stated.

The following is the text of Mgr McGuinness’ letter which is being read at Masses this weekend:

8 September 2018

Dear Friends in Christ,

Some weeks ago, I wrote to you all concerning the future mission of our parishes in the Diocese of Clogher. I highlighted the current reality in our diocese; that the number of priests is continuing to diminish and that this, along with the aging profile of our priests, makes it increasingly difficult to maintain the level of service to our people that has prevailed in the past. I mentioned, in particular, that the number and times of Masses across our parishes needed to be reviewed. This would mean some reduction in the number of Masses and changes in the times that they are celebrated. Since then, the priests in our 7 Pastoral Areas have met on several occasions to conduct this review. As I promised, I have led and directed this process in the different areas. As a result, we have agreed a revised schedule of weekend Masses across the whole diocese, which is being published this weekend. No Pastoral Area of the diocese will be unaffected by these changes. This revised schedule, which has my full approval, takes effect on the weekend of 6 and 7 October 2018.

In this plan, we have tried to take account of the following:

Firstly, to best provide a range of Mass times for congregations across neighbouring parishes,
Secondly, to reduce the workload and stress on priests and to allow priests to be available to support priests in other parishes as the need arises and at times of illness,
Thirdly, to take into account, as far as possible, local circumstances and geography, so as to maintain the sense of community and identity that exists in our parishes, and,
Fourthly, that Mass continues to be celebrated in all the churches of the diocese and that every church continues to be a living place of worship. There is no question of any church being closed.

Another change that parishes will experience is having priests from neighbouring parishes coming in on a regular basis to preside at the Sunday Eucharist. This will mean that you and they will get to know each other better, and this will help with greater collaboration between priests and laypeople and between parishes themselves.
I know and understand that not everyone will be happy with every aspect of these changes. However, I am confident that the people of the diocese as a whole will give them a chance. Indeed, I am greatly encouraged by the response to my recent letter and the degree to which people recognise the reality we are now in. Your understanding and willingness to support these arrangements is deeply appreciated.

There are two other matters that I wish to bring to your attention today:
The first concerns the combination of anniversary intentions in a single Mass – that is where Masses on any weekday or weekend can be offered up for several intentions, including months minds or even Funeral Masses. Many of our parishes have been doing this for some time now, since there are fewer Masses. I am now authorising all parishes to implement this practice, as needed, from the first Sunday of October 2018. The provisions of Canon Law will apply when a priest is offered more than one stipend for the same Mass – the priest may only accept one offering for himself for any Mass. The other stipends will be used to contribute to the work of the Church in accordance with established practice.

The second matter concerns Funeral Masses on Sundays. Due to the decline in the number of priests, the reduced number of Masses at weekends, and the reality that priests will now have to celebrate several Masses on Sundays, it will not be possible to celebrate an additional Funeral Mass on Sundays. In other words, Funeral Masses on Sundays will have to be at one of the Sunday Masses. If this arrangement does not accommodate a family’s wishes, it can be arranged to have the Funeral Mass either on the Saturday or on the Monday. I know that you will understand the reasoning for this and support your local priest accordingly.

My dear friends, I thank you for the support that both I and your priests have received since the publication of my letter on 11 August. I thank the priests of the diocese who have co-operated with me and with each other on this plan. It is the beginning of the task of addressing the spiritual and pastoral needs of all in our diocese in what is now a very changed landscape.

There is still much to be done, especially by lay men and women, in renewing parish life and the mission of the church into the future. In this way, we can work towards a balancing of the roles of clergy and laity in our Church, where all work in partnership together.

We ask God, through the intercession of his Blessed Mother and St Macartan, to guide and protect us on this journey of hope and love.

With every blessing,

Monsignor Joseph McGuinness
Diocesan Administrator


With effect from 6-7 October 2018

    Parishes of Carrickmacross; Donaghmoyne; Inniskeen; Killanny and Magheracloone

    6pm St Joseph’s Church, Carrickmacross
    6pm Church of Mary, Mother of Mercy, Inniskeen
    7.30pm Ss Peter and Paul, Lower Magheracloone
    7.30pm St Lastra’s Church, Donaghmoyne (alternate Saturdays)
    7.30pm St Mary’s Church, Lisdoonan (alternate Saturdays)

    9.30am St Joseph’s Church, Carrickmacross
    10am Church of Mary, Mother of Mercy, Inniskeen
    10.30am St Patrick’s Church, Upper Magheracloone
    11am St Michael’s Church, Corduff (alternate Sundays)
    11am St John the Evangelist Church, Raferagh (alternate Sundays)
    11.30am St Enda’s Church, Killanny
    11.30am St Patrick’s Church, Broomfield.
    12 Noon St Joseph’s Church, Carrickmacross

    Parishes of Castleblayney; Clontibret; Aughnamullen East; Ballybay; Latton and Rockcorry

    6pm St Mary’s Church, Castleblayney
    6.30pm St Patrick’s Church, Ballybay
    6.30pm St Mary’s Church, Corravacan (Rockcorry) (alternate Saturdays)
    6.30pm Holy Trinity Church, Edergole (Rockcorry) (alternate Saturdays)
    7.30pm St Mary’s, Church, Clontibret
    8pm St Mary’s Church, Latton
    8pm St Mary’s Church, Carrickatee

    9.30am Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Tullycorbet
    10am St Patrick’s Church, Oram
    10am All Saints’ Church, Doohamlet
    10am St Patrick’s Church, Bawm
    11am Church of Our Lady of Knock, Ballintra
    11.30am St Mary’s Church, Castleblayney
    11.30am Church of the Sacred Heart, Lough Egish
    11.30am St Michael’s Church, Annyalla
    12.15pm St Patrick’s Church, Ballybay

    Parishes of Monaghan & Rackwallace; Corcaghan-Threemilehouse; Donagh; Errigal Truagh; Tydavnet and Tyholland

    6pm St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan
    6.30pm St Mary’s Church, Glennan
    7pm St Patrick’s Church, Clara
    7.30pm St Michael’s Church, Corcaghan
    8pm St Joseph’s Church, Knockatallan

    8.30am St Joseph’s Church, Monaghan
    9.30am Sacred Heart Church, Carrickroe
    9.30am St Michael’s Church, Ardaghey (1st and 3rd Sunday of each month)
    10am St Dympna’s Church, Tydavnet
    10am St Mary’s Church, Threemilehouse
    10.30am St Patrick’s Church, Tyholland
    11am St Patrick’s Church, Corracrin
    11am Church of the Holy Family, Ballyoisin
    11.30am St Mary’s Church, Urbleshanny
    11.30am St Joseph’s Church, Monaghan
    12.30pm St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan.

    Parishes of Clones; Roslea; Killeevan-Currin-Aghabog; Newtownbutler and Lisnaskea

    6pm St Mary’s Church, Magherarney
    6pm Church of the Holy Cross, Lisnaskea
    7.30pm Church of the Sacred Heart, Clones

    9am St Alphonus’ Church, Connons (1st, 3rd & 5th Sundays)
    9am St Mary’s Church, Ture (2nd & 4th Sundays plus Holydays of obligation)
    9.30am St Mary’s Church, Aghabog
    9.30am St Patrick’s Church, Donagh (Co Fermanagh)
    10am St Macartan’s Church, Aghadrumsee
    10am St Mary’s Church, Maguiresbridge
    10.30am Church of the Immaculate Conception, Scotshouse
    10.30am St Tierney’s Church, Roslea
    11am St Mary’s Church, Newtownbutler
    11.30am St Livinus’ Church, Killeevan
    11.30am Church of the Holy Cross, Lisnaskea
    11.30am Church of the Sacred Heart, Clones

    Parishes of St Michael’s, Enniskillen; Tempo; Derrygonnelly and Arney

    6pm St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen
    6pm St Patrick’s Church, Derrygonnelly
    7.30pm St Patrick’s Church, Belcoo

    8am St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen
    9.30am St Mary’s Church, Lisbellaw
    9.30am St Joseph’s Church, Cradian
    10am Church of the Immaculate Conception, Monea (alternate Sundays)
    10am Church of the Sacred Heart, Boho (alternate Sundays)
    10.30am St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen
    11am St Mary’s Church, Arney (Alternate Sundays)
    11am St Joseph’s Church, Mullaghdun (alternate Sundays)
    11am Church of the Immaculate Conception, Tempo
    12 Noon St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen

    Parishes of Irvinestown; Ederney; Pettigo; Garrison-Belleek and Bundoran-Ballyshannon.

    6pm Church of the Sacred Heart, Irvinestown
    6.15pm St Joseph’s Church, Ederney
    (November to April only. No Vigil May-October)
    7pm St Patrick’s Church, Belleek (Alternate Saturdays)
    7pm Church of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Garrison (Alternate Saturdays)
    7pm Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Bundoran
    7.30pm St Mary’s, Pettigo

    8.30am Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Bundoran
    9.30am St Patrick’s Church, Montiagh
    (November to April only. Alternates with Lettercran during May to October).
    9.30am St Joseph’s Church, Lettercran
    (November to April only. Alternates with Montiagh during May to October)
    9.30am St Molaisse’s Church, Whitehill
    10am St Joseph’s Church, The Rock, Ballyshannon.
    10am St John the Baptist Church, Toura
    (on a three-Sunday cycle with Cashelnadrea and Mulleek)
    10am St Joseph’s Church, Cashelnadrea
    (on a three-Sunday cycle with Toura and Mulleek)
    10am St Michael’s Church, Mulleek
    (on a three-Sunday cycle with Cashelnadrea and Toura)
    11am Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Bundoran
    11am St Joseph’s Church, Ederney
    11am Church of the Sacred Heart, Irvinestown
    11.30am Church of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Garrison (Alternate Sundays)
    11.30am St Patrick’s Church, Belleek (Alternate Sundays)
    12.30pm Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Bundoran (July & August only)

    Parishes of Clogher; Eskra; Brookeboro-Fivemiletown; Fintona; Dromore and Trillick

    6pm St Lawrence’s Church, Fintona
    7pm St Patrick’s Church, Clogher
    7pm St Davog’s Church, Dromore
    7pm St Mary’s Church, Brookeborough
    8pm St Macartan’s Church, Trillick

    9.30am St Patrick’s Church, Eskra
    9.30am St Mary’s Church, Coa
    10am St Joseph’s Church, Coonian
    10am St Davog’s Church, Dromore
    11am St Macartan’s Church, Trillick
    11.15am St Macartan’s Church, Augher (Forth Chapel)
    11.30am St Mary’s Church, Fivemiletown
    11.30am St Lawrence’s Church, Fintona

    Notes to Editors:
    1. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, most of Fermanagh and portions of Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. It has a Catholic population of 88,000, across 37 parishes, which are served by 58 priests and 2 deacons. There are 85 churches in the diocese.
    2. Monsignor Joseph McGuinness is the Diocesan Administrator of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clogher, pending the appointment of a new bishop by Pope Francis. He is also the Administrator of the Parish of Tyholland, Co Monaghan.
    3. Here is a link to the text of the Pastoral Letter, The Future Mission of Our Parishes, from Mgr Joseph McGuinness on 11 August 2018: