Franciscan Friars on the move to Galliagh

Derry's Franciscan friars are relocating from the Long Tower parish to Galliagh.
Derry's Franciscan friars are relocating from the Long Tower parish to Galliagh.

Derry’s community of Franciscan monks based in Abercorn Road are on the move to a new address in Galliagh, the Journal can reveal.

The small group of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal have been living and working in the Long Tower parish for the past four-and-a-half years.

Details of the move were revealed at the weekend by Diocesan Administrator Very Rev. Francis Bradley.

Mass-goers in both the Long Tower and Three Patrons (Pennyburn, Carnhill and Galliagh) parishes were told that the friars will move from their current home in the parochial house at Victoria Place - off Abercorn Road - and take up residence at the parochial house in Galliagh which will become a friary.

A special Mass of Welcome for the friars is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 2.

Rev. Bradley, speaking at Masses in the Three Patrons parish at the weekend, said the Franciscan friars were “to take root amongst a privileged people and help serve the needs, not only of this parish, but, from here, of the city and the Diocese of Derry as a whole.”

Rev. Bradley said the move would “better allow” the friars to “fulfil the demands of their charism as a religious order”.

The Diocesan Administrator also announced that Father Dermot McGirr is to leave the Three Patrons Parish - the largest in the city and diocese with a Catholic population of just under 25,000.

A new priest will move into the parish and take up residence at Carnhill with Father Michael McGavigan.

Along with parish priest, Father Michael McCaughey, of Pennyburn, these priests, says Rev. Bradley, will serve the day-to-day pastoral needs of the parish.

He added: “The visitation of homes and schools, the availability of priests and religious both for the celebration of the sacraments and the opportunity to encounter the living presence of Christ amongst us will, we hope, be enhanced by this change.”

He said he hoped parishioners would appreciate the wisdom of this change.

“It will make demands of many people, not least yourselves... There is risk involved but, with faith and hope, we’ll all put our shoulders to the load helped by the abiding presence of Christ.”