Groups have been warned that only the St Vincent de Paul Society is allowed to collect in church grounds after a local priest was abused.
A woman shouted “You are the Devil” at a parish priest after she was asked to stop collecting money near the Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty recently.
A description of the incident was relayed to parishioners in a parish bulletin on Sunday.
Fr. Paddy O’Kane, Holy Family parish priest, decided to use the bulletin to send a message informing people that the only group permitted to collect money on a regular basis on church grounds was the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
“Recently it has come to our attention that another group has started to collect money,” said Fr. O’Kane in the bulletin.
“They do not have permission to do so. Last week when I asked one of them to leave she shouted at me ‘you’re the Devil.’
“Furthermore, one of them took £40 from a man’s wallet. We have the incident on our security camera.
“Other parishes where the same group has been collecting have simply asked the parishioners not to support them. Hopefully, this will resolve the problem here too,” he added.
When contacted by the ‘Journal’ Fr. O’Kane said he did not want to comment on the matter but a spokesperson for the Derry Diocese said no organisation was permitted to use church grounds to collect money without permission from the Bishop of Derry, Most Reverend Dr. Donal McKeown.
“St. Vincent de Paul is the only group permitted to collect money regularly outside churches. That doesn’t mean that other groups are not permitted to do so as well but all groups must receive permission before doing so,” said the spokesperson.