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Fr Sean is to begin diocesan ministry in St John's Tralee


The newly ordained Fr Sean Jones will be curate at St John's Parish, Tralee, according to a list of changes outlined by Bishop Ray Browne for the Diocese of Kerry.

Bishop Browne explained that Fr Jones' ordination was Kerry's first in over a decade. It was also announced that St John's curate Fr Bernard Healy is to undertake further studies at the Irish College, Rome.

The news comes as Bishop Browne announced that Priests in the diocese's 12 Pastoral Areas will take up different responsibilities outside their Parishes and within their Pastoral Area, taking effect later this month. He outlined that he has prioritised maintaining the identity of individual church area communities and that, where appropriate, Funeral Masses, Marriages, Baptisms, and First Friday Masses will continue in these areas.

However, Parishioners in some situations will attend Sunday Mass in neighbouring Churches, and Bishop Browne has encouraged communities to take measures such as sharing transport to ensure people can attend these Masses. "Last year, I mentioned that, in the years immediately ahead, hard decisions would have to be made: deciding that, in a small number of situations, a particular church would no longer have a weekend Mass," he said.

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"The situation gives rise to concern and deep sadness on the part of all of us. It is the inevitable result of the absence, in the past decade especially, of vocations to the priesthood in our diocese. Thank God we have just had our first Ordination in 11 years, Fr Sean Jones of Moyvane parish.

"The list of changes this year is short...Each Pastoral Area [there are twelve in total, with 53 parishes] has typically three, four or five priests. Every change thus disturbs a Pastoral Area as well as a parish. It is vital to keep such disturbances to a minimum."

Bishop Browne has also asked people to reflect on the importance of bringing young people to Sunday Mass and has called on events organisers to schedule events in a way that considers local Mass times. Fr Anthony O'Sullivan is set to return from sabbatical and will fill in for priests taking short breaks over the coming year, the Diocese also noted.