Appreciation as popular priest on the move

Fr Paul Fraser and Fr Joe Gormley carry an Oak sapling for planting to commemorate the 60th anniversary of St Mary�"s Church Creggan. DER2219GS-026
Fr Paul Fraser and Fr Joe Gormley carry an Oak sapling for planting to commemorate the 60th anniversary of St Mary�"s Church Creggan. DER2219GS-026

The Creggan community has this week been expressing their appreciation and sorrow after it was confirmed that local priest Fr Paul Fraser is moving to a new parish as part of the annual Derry Diocese clerical changes.

Fr. Fraser has been appointed the Parish Priest of two parishes in West Tyrone, Ardstraw West and Castlederg, and Aghyaran.

In a tribute to his colleague, published in the parish bulletin for St Mary’s Church at the weekend, fellow Creggan priest Father Joe Gormley said Creggan was blessed to have had Fr Fraser minister there.

Fr. Gormley spoke to Fr Fraser’s “enormous” contribution to parish life in Creggan.

“It is clear that his influence on this parish has been immense,” he said. “We are naturally very sad therefore to see him leave us.

“He has loved the people of Creggan and they will always hold a special place for him in their hearts.”

Fr Fraser was instrumental in securing the refurbishment of St Mary’s Church and he also served on the Board of Governors at St John’s Primary School and on the management committee of St Mary’s Youth Club.

Local people have also been taking to social media to express their gratitude for his pastoral care and their sadness that he will be leaving the parish.

The annual clerical changes announced by Bishop Donal McKeown this week saw a number of priests across the Diocese - one of the largest in Ireland - moving to new parishes.