Wexford priest to become naval chaplain

David Tucker

Published 30/06/2015 | 00:00

Fr Brian Whelan's move is one of a number of clerical changes taking place around County Wexford. Inset: Cushinstown's Fr. Martin Doyle, formerly of Clonard parish, has left the priesthood.
Fr Brian Whelan's move is one of a number of clerical changes taking place around County Wexford. Inset: Cushinstown's Fr. Martin Doyle, formerly of Clonard parish, has left the priesthood.
Fr Martin Doyle

WEXFORD priest Fr. Brian Whelan has got a new job as a Chaplain to the British Royal Navy.

It hasn't yet been revealed when Fr, Whelan will take up his new post, which could see him working in conflict zones anywhere in the world.

The Royal Navy website describes the job of chaplain as 'a critical position'.

'On the whole your colleagues will be far from home. Doing a demanding job - often in tough and sometimes dangerous positions. Do you have what it takes to offer the spiritual and moral support personnel need to function as an effective force?'

'As a Royal Navy chaplain you'll be unique in the Royal Navy. Although you won't be an officer you will be a part of the Royal Navy command structure. And you will have the freedom to talk to everyone on an equal, informal and confidential basis.'

Fr. Whelan's pending departure is the latest in a series of big changes in priestly appointments in Wexford since Fr. Jim Fegan was appointed Parish Priest in Ballindaggin last month.

Shortly after his transfer, the sudden death of popular Castlebridge Priest Fr. Walter Forde has left a huge gap in that parish and Screen priest Fr. Matt Kelly is being mentioned as a likely successor.

Meanwhile, Fr. Martin Doyle, from Cushinstown, has left the priesthood. A letter read out at masses in the parish said he gone from the priesthood on the advice of his spiritual and medical advisors. In neighbouring Rathgarogue, Fr. Odhran Fulrong, said he had no idea why Fr. Doyle had gone.

'He went out sick there a while ago,' he said.

In Monageer/Boolvaogue, curate, Fr. Michael Byrne has revealed he is retiring on health grounds, with PP Fr. Bill Cosgrave making no secret of the fact that at the age of 75, while he was quite prepared to take in curacy somewhere else in the diocese or to help in some other capacity, he did not intend to carry out both roles.

'The knock on effect is that we've lost a PP,' said a parisioner.

Such is the shortage of priests that some may be brought back from the missions, with the name of Fr. Sean Devereux, who has been in the Gambia in West Africa for more than 20 years, mentioned in this regard.

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