Sunday Mass back on, but now at 8.30 a.m.

Fr Colm O'Doherty.

Fr Colm O'Doherty.

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The Sunday morning Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, Castlederg has been reinstated, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.

Last week this paper reported how the parishioners had been told that the 9 a.m. Mass in the church was being cancelled. The move came after the parish was left with just one priest following the recent clerical changes.

Several parishioners contacted the ‘Journal’ stating they were angry that the church was being left without a Sunday service and only a Saturday night vigil.

However, Father Colm O’Doherty said that he has now decided to host an 8.30 a.m. Mass on Sunday in St. Patrick’s. “I hope this proves suitable in the meantime,” he said. “It was the best I could do.

“There were two priests here and now there is only one,” he added.

“I would love to be able to do the three Masses on a Sunday morning but we have tried it and given the distance it just does not work.

“Sunday Mass should not be a source of division but a central part of life in the parish. We will try it and see how it works out, but we may have to re-visit the issue.”

One local man said the cancellation of the Mass was “wiping out 200 years of tradition in the parish.”

“I was really, really upset about it,” he claimed. “When decisions that like are made they should be put towards the people first.

“The people are the church after all.

“We’re not delighted with having an 8.30 a.m. Mass, it’s still too early, but at least we have a Mass on a Sunday again.”

Another parishioner said she had stopped going to Mass since the announcement.

“We already lost our 11 a.m. Mass in St Patrick’s a few years ago,” she said. “Now it’s the 9 a.m. Mass. Our fear is that if this continues the church will be closed.

“When I was growing up we were always taught that the Mass on Sunday was the most important. The Saturday vigil just isn’t the same. Sunday is the day when the week starts.

“A lot of people have been very upset by the news.”

The Castlederg parish now has a Saturday Vigil Mass at 6 p.m. and Sunday 8.30 a.m. Mass 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.