Fr Phil Gaffney to take on dual role
Father Philip Gaffney has been appointed to the dual role of Parish Priest for St Mary's Parish and Holy Family, Ballsgrove.
He announced on Monday that he would be assuming both roles from Monday, June 17th.
He has vowed that the good work of Fr David Bradley at Holy Family over the last 25 years will be continued. Fr Bradley is moving to become the PP in Multyfarnham.
'I will be the PP of both parishes and we have two new curates coming in, Fr Conor McGee and Fr Cyprian Solomon. There are eight masses to cover over a weekend and we'll be looking after those,' he stated.
Fr Fergal Cummins, the present curate in St Mary's is also moving, taking up a role in Tullamore.
Fr. Gaffney, who haD been the parish priest of Ardcath/Clonalvy and Curraha for the seven years, took over the role of PP St Mary's from then newly appointed Bishop Denis Nulty in 2013.
Originally from Castletown-Finea in County Westmeath, Fr. Gaffney has been more than 30 years in the priesthood.
After his ordination in 1988, he was appointed to the staff of St Finian's College in Mullingar, where he remained for five years. In 2003, he moved to Ratoath as a curate and before taking up the position of Parish Priest in Ardcath/Clonalvy and Curraha in 2006.
The move to one Parish Priest to serve the area sees a return to the system that existed until 1986.
In 1979, on the recommendation of the priests of St Mary's parish, initial plans were made for the setting up of a separate parish. On 14 February 1986, the Diocesan College of Consultors approved the suggestion and a Boundaries Commission was set up.
On the 27 August 1986, the Most Rev. Michael Smith issued the following decree: 'A second new parish is to be erected on the western side of St Mary's and will be called Holy Family parish. It will include the following areas: Ballsgrove, Rathmullen, St Finian's Park, Donore Avenue, Donore Road, Cherrymount, Cherrybrook Drive, Hillbrook, Marian Court, Hill View, Highfield, Laurel Court, Grove Road, all houses opening on to Marley's Lane, St Oliver's Community College, Marian Park nos 1-66, 131-140 and 183-232. The remaining houses in Marian Park will remain in St Mary's.'
On 28 October 1973, the church which was dedicated to the Holy Family was blessed and officially opened.
In another major change, Fr John Conlon will become PP of his present parish, Duleek, and Donore. Fr Tony Genoude, a former curate in Holy Family and PP Donore for some years, moves to a PP role in Co Westmeath.