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‘Steady decline in church life and vocations’ sees Dundalk church cut services

Redemptorist community will curtail evening masses and priest on duty 

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Fr. Noel Kehoe, Rector and Parish Administrator at St. Joseph's Redemptorist Church

Fr. Noel Kehoe, Rector and Parish Administrator at St. Joseph's Redemptorist Church

Fr. Noel Kehoe, Rector and Parish Administrator at St. Joseph's Redemptorist Church

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The Redemptorist Community in Dundalk are set to reduce the number of masses being held every week at St. Joseph’s Church.

Rector and Parish Administrator Fr. Noel Kehoe C.Ss.R, informed parishioners this week that the community has “encountered many challenges” over the last few months, including the sad passing of Fr. Eamon Hoey.

In addition four Redemptorist priests have had to reduce their commitments due to illness, and with ten residents in the monastery aged between 80 and 100 years old, they have made the decision to curtail services at St. Joseph’s. 

Following St. Gerard’s Novena in October, the weekday 7.30pm mass will no longer be held, except on Wednesday. The weekly Novena will continue at 9.30am and 7.30pm.

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There will also no longer be a priest on duty throughout the day, but an appointment can be made.

Fr. Kehoe said: “ I know this will disappoint many people, and these were difficult decisions taken by the community. The evening mass was the most difficult to sustain because it is normally celebrated by older members of the community.”

He added: “Those of us in parish ministry, in addition to the morning mass, often find ourselves on the same day, celebrating funerals, weddings, and in the evening attending bereaved families and providing space for pastoral meetings.”

“As Rector, it is a difficult and sad reminder of a steady decline in church life and vocations. However, our Redemptorist commitment to Dundalk remains firm and we build on hope.”

He explained that in January, a new provincial administration will “take on the difficult task of addressing this situation across our communities in Ireland. Perhaps Redemptorists from other provinces may join us.”

"In the meantime, however, as Rector I have a duty of care to the elderly and infirm, but also to the younger Redemptorists who to date have generously tried to cover all the gaps, which is unfortunately neither fair nor sustainable.”

He added: “Change is always difficult, but we must face the situation with realism and hope. I ask for your understanding and prayer at this time and assure you of our continuing commitment to Dundalk.”


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