A meeting regarding the attendance of confirmation families at Sunday Mass which had been scheduled to take place on Thursday evening was cancelled on just a few hours notice via the St Senan's Parish Facebook page.
The meeting was called by Fr Paddy Banville after he criticised the parents of children who were due to make their confirmation for failing to attend mass in the build up to their big day. Via the Parish newsletter he said that the absence of parents and children from Mass was 'more significant because I've made it abundantly clear that for Confirmation families, participation in Sunday Eucharist is not optional, it's essential.'
Fr Banville went on to say that he had been ignored in relation to the matter and scheduled a meeting to take place in the Templeshannon Community Centre on Thursday evening. The piece gained widespread interest and was published nationally and debated across the airwaves. Meanwhile, Fr Banville was unavailable for comment on the matter.
On Thursday, just hours before the meeting was due to take place, a message was published on the St Senan's Parish Facebook page from Fr Banville, stating: 'In light of the very intensive - and unanticipated - media interest in tonight's proposed meeting in St Senan's Parish, I have decided to cancel the gathering. The proposed 'faith formation conversation' I initially envisaged is, I believe, an important one and it does need to occur. To properly occur, it should proceed in a more structured and shared manner, and it needs to occur without making individuals the subject of publicity or attention.'
'I readily recognise that parents want the very best for their children,' Fr Banville continued. 'So do I and so does the parish and the church. This was - and is - my goal as a fellow pilgrim. I will now begin to consider how better this conversation might be organised and how I and others - including parents and parishioners - might fruitfully participate.'