On Sunday 16 December, Fr Jimmy McPhillips was installed as Parish Priest of Lisnaskea-Maguiresbridge (Aghalurcher). The installation took place during the 11.30am Mass at Holy Cross Church, Lisnaskea and was presided over by the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Clogher, Monsignor Joseph McGuinness. Fr McPhillips, who was previously the Parish Priest of Derrygonnelly (Botha), succeeds Canon Joseph Mullin, who was Parish Priest of Aghalurcher for twenty-five years until his retirement last September. In addition to his responsibilities in Lisnaskea-Maguiresbridge, Fr McPhillips is also the Administrator of the Parish of Newtownbutler (Galloon).
At the outset of the liturgy, Mgr McGuinness said that it was a particular pleasure and honour for him to be present in his own native parish to install a new Parish Priest. In his homily at the Mass, Mgr McGuinness referred to the occasion as being one of hope and renewal, as well as a moment to acknowledge ‘with deep gratitude the generous ministry given to the parish by Canon Joseph Mullin’ and to thank him for his willingness to continue to minister in the parish, in retirement. He said that the people of the parish had already experienced the ‘great pastoral gifts’ that Fr McPhillips brings to the parish, ‘a great warmth and generosity of spirit and an energy and enthusiasm which have brought great blessings to the parishes in which he has previously served.’
Mgr McGuinness noted that Fr McPhillips’ generosity of spirit is evident in his willingness to also take on the role of serving the people of Galloon parish too, something he saw as ‘symptomatic of the challenges we face in our diocese’. However, he said that these challenges were not just for priests but for all the people of the diocese ‘to see in our current and future situation, an opportunity to become more deeply engaged in the work of the Church.’ In this regard too, he welcomed the appointment of Mgr Larry Duffy as the new Bishop of Clogher, adding that the same support, prayer and encouragement which has been given to Fr McPhillips would be generously given to the new bishop as ‘we commit ourselves to supporting his leadership in accomplishing the mission of the Church.’ At the same time, he urged people to keep in their prayers the urgent need for vocations to the priesthood and the need also for people to positively encourage those discerning a vocation.
The new Parish Priest
Fr McPhillips was born in Clones parish and brought up in the adjoining Parish of Galloon of which is now the administrator. He attended St. Mary’s Primary School Newtownbutler and St. Comgalls Secondary School Lisnaskea. He spent 6 years studying for the Priesthood in St. Patrick’s College Thurles, Co. Tipperary and was ordained for the Diocese of Clogher in June 1992. Since then, he has served as Curate in the parishes of Monaghan/Rackwallace, Carrickmacross, and Killanny before being appointed PP of Derrygonnelly in 2013.