By Lynda Kiernan firstname.lastname@example.org @laoisnews
Parish Priest of Abbeyleix and Ballyroan, Fr Gerard Ahern, is moving on to pastures new in the dioceses, after 11 years in Laois.
Fr Ahern is being transferred to the parish of Baltinglass in Wicklow at the end of July, to take up the post of PP there.
Speaking to the Leinster Express at the opening of Ballyroan's new primary school, on which he had worked to achieve, Fr Ahern admitted he is sad to ge.
“I am sad to be leaving, now when we have our new school and all the work has paid off. But there is a great team here, both the staff and the community, it augers well for the future,” he said.
Originally from Hacketstown in Carlow, he is moving closer to where he grew up, but has no surviving family.
“In ways it is difficult, to have to start to get to know people again, to leave behind friends. I will remember Abbeyleix for the friendship and support I was given, it is a beautiful place to live in, Everyone was very welcoming and co-operative,” he said.
His highlights are the renovation of Ballyroan church, the development of the autism unit in Scoil Mhuire Abbeyleix, and of course the beautiful new school in Ballyroan.
“Communion and confirmation times are always a highlight too, just being with families,” Fr Ahern said.
“There will be new challenges in Baltinglass, it is bigger, with four schools and three churches, but much of my role is essentially the same, to be there with communities in their sad and happy occasions,” he said.
Fr Ahern will be replaced by Fr John Cummins.
The move is one of several in Laois announced by the Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, Denis Nulty, all to come into effect on August 1.