A parish in the Derry Diocese has been forced to cancel its Sunday Mass.

Father Colm O’Doherty, who is the parish priest in Castlederg, is the only remaining cleric in the parish following the recent diocesan changes. The parish recently lost his fellow priest Father Dermott Harkin, who was transferred to Lavey and Greenlough.

Parishioners say they are upset that the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass held in St. Patrick’s in Castlederg has been cancelled.

However, O’Doherty explained that as only one priest remains in the parish he could not do all the weekend Masses himself. He added that he understood that the decision to remove the Sunday Mass would be a cause of concern.

“It’s not the case that we don’t have a Sunday Mass in the parish,” he said.

“Just not in St. Patrick’s Church. There are still two Sunday Masses in the other churches, one of which is a mile and a quarter down the road.”

He said he made the decision to retain the Saturday night vigil at St. Patrick’s because it is the best attended Mass in the parish.

“There were two priests here and now there is only one,” he said. “I would love to be able to do three Masses on a Sunday morning but we have tried it and with the distance it just does not work.”

 

Father Colm O’Doherty is the only remaining cleric in the parish following the recent diocesan changes.iStock