A parish in the Derry Diocese has been forced to cancel its Sunday Mass.
Father Colm O’Doherty who is the parish priest in Castlederg (Ardstraw West) is the only remaining cleric in the parish following the recent diocesan changes.
The parish recently lost his fellow priest Fr. Dermott Harkin, who was transferred to Lavey and Greenlough.
Parishoners who contacted the Derry Journal say they are upset that the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass held in St Patrick’s, Castlederg has been cancelled.
However Father Colm O’Doherty explained that as only one priest remains in the parish he could not do all the weekend Masses himself.
He added that he understood that the decision to remove the Sunday Mass from St Patrick’s Church in Castlederg would be a cause of concern.
“It’s not the case that we don’t have a Sunday Mass in the parish,” he said.
“Just not in St Patrick’s Church. There are still two Sunday Masses in the other churches, one of which is a mile and a quarter down the road.”
He said he made the decision to retain the Saturday night vigil at St Patrick’s, Castlederg, because it is the best attended Mass in the parish.
“There were two priests here and now there is only one,” he said. “I would love to be able to do three Masses on a Sunday morning but we have tried it and with the distance it just does not work.”
The Castlederg parish now has Saturday Vigil Mass at 6 p.m. in St Patrick’s, Castlederg, Sunday morning Mass at 10:00 am St Mary’s, Dregish and 12:00 noon Mass at St Francis of Assisi, Drumnabey.