Fr McKenna's statement

Father McKenna has asked for his privacy to be respected, however he issued the following statement:

"As you are aware, celibacy is an integral part of the commitment to priesthood. The nature of this relationship is such that the rule of celibacy does not allow me to continue in priesthood and to be in this relationship at the same time. Therefore, I have made my choice. It is a difficult choice but a clear and free one.

"Since being ordained in 1985, I have found my experience of priesthood to be very meaningful and spiritually uplifting. I have greatly valued the ministry of priesthood and I know how much that ministry is valued by you the people of Holy Family and by the people of all the parishes and situations in which I have been privileged to serve – St Mary's Creggan and Long Tower.

"My decision to leave has not come about through any lessening of the respect and regard in which I hold this very important ministry in today's world.

"I am aware that many of you may be saddened by my decision to leave the priesthood and this parish of Holy Family. It has also been a very difficult decision for me and it has not been without pain."

Father Michael Canny told the 'Journal' that parish life at Holy Family will continue and Bishop Seamus Hegarty will announce a new appointment at the parish before Christmas.