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Salthill’s parish priest retires after a quarter-century


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Salthill’s parish priest retires after a quarter-century Salthill’s parish priest retires after a quarter-century

A priest based in Galway for 50 years is to retire at the end of the month.

Fr Gerry Jennings (pictured), a native of Craughwell, was ordained in 1973 and was based in Shantalla first before being appointed chaplain at the university where he remained for 14 years and was largely responsible for building the college chapel.

He was moved to Salthill in 2000 to take up duties as parish priest until his retirement at the end of this month at the age of 75.

Fr Jennings said he’d like to retire quietly, without fuss.

“It wasn’t my parish, I was only working there like a ship in the night, a tide that comes in and then you’re gone and that’s fine with me.”

The football-mad priest made headlines when he asked in the parish newsletter for a sub to say Mass at Christ the King Church in Salthill so he could watch Salthill/Knocknacarra’s bid for their All-Ireland club football title against Antrim champions, St Gall’s.

Fr Jennings was inundated with offers from parishioners who had retired priests as relatives and managed to secure a replacement to witness glory in Croke Park.

He will remain in the area when he gives up his duties. Fr Charlie Sweeney will also leave Salthill to be curate in the Oranmore Parish.

There will be only one priest based in Salthill for now, with Dean Michael McLoughlin who was parish priest in Moycullen appointed to the seaside parish.

Diocesan Secretary Fr Martin Whelan will replace Fr McLoughlin in Moycullen.

Monsignor Peter Rabbitte will remain as Parish Priest of the Cathedral and will also become parish priest of St Patrick’s Parish, replacing Fr Patrick Whelan, who retired last month.

Announcing the changes, Bishop Michael Duignan said the appointments take place against the backdrop of many current challenges at parish level.

“Decline in faith practice and vocations to the priesthood mean that the way things have been is not the way they will be in the future. As a Diocese we are actively engaging with people and priests to creatively respond to these challenges and to develop a plan to breathe new life into our faith communities,” he stated.

“In certain areas changes to the service provided by the local priest will inevitably follow. One priest simply cannot now do what two or three priests did in the past. I am confident that parishioners will be sympathetic and generous when it comes to such changes,” the Bishop said.

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