Fr Paddy Byrne
Fr Paddy Byrne is 'excited' to start his new role as Parish Priest of Abbeyleix, Ballyroan, Raheen and Shanahoe in the coming weeks.
Fr Paddy is well known in the Portlaoise community and he said he hopes to bring new energy to the area.
“I spent the last seven years in Portlaoise active and present in the parish, I found it a very fulfilling and happy place to be.
“Coming as an outsider I would have a great appreciation for the town itself that it is a fantastic place to live and I availed of all those fantastic amenities.
“I found the people very warm, particularly the hospital ministry, excellent, and I would be very passionate about defending the integrity of the hospital.
“I am taking up a new role as Parish Priest of two parishes so it will be the first time that that will have happened for the people of Raheen and Shanahoe and also I will be Parish Priest of Abbeyleix and Ballyroan.
“I am doing that with a sense of optimism and it is a privilege because I was a very good friend to the late Fr John Cummins who died following a tragic freak car accident in his premises last January so I am very sensitive to the memory of John and that please God I will be able to bring a new energy to the place.
“For me, both parishes are all about the people and I am not too worried whether they are coming into the church too frequently or not I’ll be there for them in any way I can help or serve them I’ll be delighted to do that.
“There’s a whole host of things I am excited about in that hopefully in time I will be able to engage with. First of all, it is a process of getting to know people and I think that is a gift I have that I will be well able to do that and confident in that.
“It will be a big change for me and that is one of the challenges in our priestly lives that you move on, but when you move on you bring with you the positivity of the experience in your previous place. While it will be a big change this is my fourth time to move and I am still the youngest Parish Priest in the diocese. I hold dear Portlaoise, I’m not heading off to Nigeria on missions or anything,” he said.
Fr Paddy will officially start in his new role on Sunday, July 7.