A well-known and popular curate in Clogher Diocese, the Rev. Fr. Noel McGahan, C.C. St. Michael’s Parish, described it as a privilege to serve the people of Enniskillen and Lisbellaw for the past 15 years.

“I am sad to leave this parish which has been so good to me since September 1995,” said Fr. McGahan, who will be on sabbatical study leave - one of a number of clerical changes in the Diocese recently announced by Bishop Liam McDaid. The Rev. Fr. John Skinnader C.S.Sp. is to become C.C. Enniskillen and Director Accord, Enniskillen.

Speaking at Sunday morning mass in Enniskillen at the weekend, Fr. McGahan said he wanted “to say thanks to all in this parish”.

He told parishioners: “Your welcoming disposition, your friendliness and generosity have made my stay here a very happy one.” He added: “Over the years we have got to know each other, accept each other and many bonds of friendship and love have been created between us through the celebration of the Mass together and through the proclamation of God’s word, the Sacraments of Baptism and Marriage and the celebration of Christian funerals.” Fr. McGahan went on to say: “We have created bonds through Pastoral Visitation, participation in different organisations, e.g. Accord, Holy Trinity and Tattygar Primary Schools, St. Fancheas’s College, the Erne Hospital and many other contacts, bonds which can never be broken because God has always been present. I treasure all of these links with Enniskillen Parish.” Fr. McGahan believes “there is a depth of generosity” in the parish.

“This is shown by the number of people actively involved in creating the parish into a Christian Community of love and care; in particular the Sisters of Mercy, our teachers and school personnel, all the different organisations in the parish, the staff of St. Michael’s Church, the Priests’ House, the Parish office, St. Michael’s Bookshop and those involved in the Parish Draw”.

He extended a special word of thanks to the priests of the parish whom he served with over the years, especially Monsignor Sean Cahill, Monsignor Joseph McGuinness and Fr. Martin O’Reilly. (The Rt. Rev. Mgr. McGuinness, Parish Priest, Enniskillen is to become Chancellor of the Diocese, Diocesan Secretary and Adm. Tyholland and his successor as Enniskillen P.P. will be the Very Rev. Peter O’Reilly, P.P. Rosslea).

Fr. McGahan welcomed Fr. Peter O’Reilly and Fr. John Skinnader to the parish and said he hopes and prays “they will be fulfilled in their ministry” in serving them as he has for the past 15 years. For the past number of weeks, the Enniskillen curate says he has been receiving cards, gifts and good wishes and adds that as always, he is overwhelmed by people’s kindness and thoughtfulness.

He concluded: “As I go from here I carry with me, grateful to God and to you the people of Enniskillen and Lisbellaw, memories of the happy years I spent among you. I ask you to pray for me at this time as I begin a year of prayer, reflection and study after 30 years of parish ministry. I am truly grateful to Bishop Joseph Duffy and Bishop Liam McDaid for giving me the opportunity to do so. In a year’s time I look forward to returning to the Diocese of Clogher and beginning again in a new parish.”