By Kathleen Mullane

‘Parish without a Priest’ 

Another two great occasions over the weekend. Margaret O’Connor of Lower Athea celebrated her ‘90th’ birthday at the Top of the Town on Saturday night last attended by all her family, relatives and friends. A great night was enjoyed by everyone and Margaret is wished all the very best of health and happiness for many more years to come and will remain playing her ‘game of cards’ that she loves.

Another ‘happy event’ was the wedding of Billy McKenna (son of Mary and Billy, Upper Athea) to Sineád Geoghegan (daughter of Lucy and John of Templeglantine). The Nuptial Ceremony was performed in Templeglantine Church by Fr. Tom Leane. The chief bridesmaid was Aisling Geoghegan assisted by Margaret Geoghegan, Margaret Ahern, Liz Coughlan and Jacqueline Sheehan. The bestman was Brian McKenna and the groomsmen were Paul McKenna, Mark Reidy, Eoin Nash and Brendan Gallagher. A great day was had by everyone at The Devon Inn Hotel in Templeglantine. Congrats and best wishes to the newly weds who were home from Australia to be married.

Well ‘August’ is upon us before we know it and only weeks before its “back to school” time. We don’t appreciate the amount of rain, mist etc we are experiencing at present but its been 107° in the USA and they cant’ even go out!

Well as we are all well aware at this stage our Parish Priest Fr. Bowen is deemed to be leaving us –with deep regret by our parishioners, but it’s only in the last couple of weeks that his loss and the implications on Athea parish being without a  “resident” priest since 1832 that has us really worried. There have been many phone calls and letters written by parishioners voicing their worries. So much so that a group held a meeting this week to raise parishioners strong feelings and these were the questions being asked.

  • Would there be only 1 weekend Sat/Sun Mass?
  • Would there be any morning /evening Masses?
  • Anniversary Masses were another issue
  • The workload for Canon Tony Mullins would be “extreme” to say the least.
  • Would there be Adoration on Thursdays?
  • Would there be 1st Friday Masses?
  • Would the sick be visited on 1st Fridays?
  • Would the 1st Communion classes and Confirmation classes have to go to Abbeyfeale for the Sacraments?
  • Would there be school visitations by the priest considering Canon Mullins will have 3 Abbeyfeale schools, plus Knocknasna, Dromtrasna etc.?
  • Would couples intending to get married in Athea have to go to Abbeyfeale to sort out their arrangements?
  • Would there be someone there to anoint in case of emergency?
  • Who would visit the sick in hospital and Nursing homes?
  • Would there be Rosary in the graveyards in November and the special Mass in November for those that died during the year?
  • Would there be all the special devotions during Easter Week and at Christmas, the crowning of Our Lady in May etc ?

“In a nutshell” it is felt that it would be great if Fr. Bowen could stay on in a “Helping Capacity” seeing as he is in good health and willing to assist – what are your views?

‘What is a Parish without a Priest’