Diocese of Clogher announces clerical changes for 2017 including appointment of Father Laurence (La) Flynn as Prior of Lough Derg

25 Sep 2017

The national and internationally renowned pilgrimage shrine of Lough Derg in Co Donegal is to have a new Prior.  As part of the Clogher Diocesan Changes announced today by the Diocesan Administrator, Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, Fr Laurence (La) Flynn, the present Parish Priest of Ballybay (Tullycorbet), Co Monaghan, is to take over the role on 1 October. He will also be the Administrator of the Parish of Pettigo. Father Flynn will succeed Father Owen J McEneaney, who has held both roles since 2013 and who has been appointed Parish Priest of Ballybay (Tullycorbet) in place of Fr Flynn. Fr McEneaney previously served in Ballybay during the 1980s following his ordination.

The other diocesan changes announced today are that Father Ian Fee CC, Bundoran-Ballyshannon (Magh Ene), Co Donegal, is to take leave of absence from the diocese while Father Alan Ward CF, Finner Camp, Ballyshannon is to take sabbatical leave for one year. Rev Sean Mulligan, newly-ordained deacon, has been assigned to the parish of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.

Commenting on the appointment of Father Flynn, Monsignor McGuinness said that Lough Derg continues to hold a very special place in the lives of many people in Clogher diocese, throughout Ireland and further afield. ‘It is foremost a place of prayer and renewal, a place where creation, history and the everlasting presence of God converge. Father Flynn already has great experience and knowledge of Lough Derg through his long association with the island. This will be of enormous benefit to Lough Derg’s next stage of development and I pray God’s blessings on him and the entire team there. I thank him for the generous service he has given to the people of Tullycorbet parish as PP for the last thirteen years’, he said.

Mgr McGuinness paid tribute to Father McEneaney for his outstanding service during the past four years. ‘We appreciate immensely the leadership which Father McEneaney has given to the Lough Derg pilgrimage and the great commitment he has shown for the pastoral and spiritual welfare of all who have come to the island. We thank him also for his devotion to the people of Pettigo parish and wish him every blessing in his new role in Tullycorbet parish’, Mgr McGuinness said.

The shrine of Lough Derg, known also as Saint Patrick’s Purgatory, is located near Pettigo in Co Donegal. It is dedicated to Saint Patrick and the spirituality of Saint Patrick is remembered and renewed every year by pilgrims. The Island shrine is a meeting place where God’s healing grace is experienced in an intensity seldom encountered elsewhere, through the spiritual programmes, the companionship of fellow pilgrims and the sheer holiness of the Island. Lough Derg acquired extraordinary fame in the middle ages both in Christian history and general literature. The Island, made holy by the prayers of millions of pilgrims down through the centuries provides a safe haven for spiritual rest, personal reflection and renewal.

The Lough Derg Pilgrimage Season occurs annually from May through until October and the traditional Three-Day Pilgrimage season happens between 1 June and 15 August. One-Day Retreats and Special Retreat Days run in the months of May, late August and September followed by Youth Retreats in September and October.


Notes to Editors:

  • Biographical Note on Fr Laurence Flynn:

Fr La Flynn was born in Roslea, Co Fermanagh in 1950. From primary school at St Tierney’s he went on to St Michael’s College, Enniskillen. His seminary training was in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and then in the Irish College in Rome. After his ordination as priest in 1976, Fr Flynn first ministered on Lough Derg during the three-day pilgrimage season of 1978, and he has served there for at least some weeks each summer continuously ever since, apart from 1992-98 during which time his ministry included service in Kitui Diocese in Kenya.  Among his written works is a booklet on Lough Derg, published in 1987 as part of the Irish Heritage Series. His appointments have included CC Monaghan, teaching staff St Macartan’s College, CC Carrickmacross and Clogher, before becoming PP of Ballybay (Tullycorbet) in 2004. Fr La’s areas of engagement include liturgical renewal and church music, ecumenism (he is a founder member of Fermanagh Churches Forum), and adult faith development, especially in the New Heart New Spirit programme which ran in various venues across Clogher Diocese for twelve years from 2003.

  • Biographical Note on Fr Owen J. McEneaney

Fr Owen J McEneaney was born in 1961 and is a native of Raferagh in the parish of Carrickmacross, County Monaghan. Following his studies for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, he was ordained in 1984. Since then he has served as CC in Ballybay (Tullycorbet) (1984-1990), Monaghan (1990-2001), Administrator of Monaghan (Cathedral) parish (2001-2013) before his appointment as Prior of Lough Derg and Administrator of Pettigo in 2013. Fr McEneaney also undertook further studies in liturgy at the Institute for Pastoral Liturgy in Carlow during the year 1995-1996.   

  • The Diocese of Clogher has been responsible for Lough Derg since 1780. Father Flynn will be the 14th Prior since then.
  • The Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, most of Fermanagh, portions of Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. It has 37 parishes and 85 churches which are served by 66 priests. It has a Catholic population of 88,000. Mgr Joseph McGuinness has been the Diocesan Administrator since October 2016, pending the appointment of a new bishop by Pope Francis. He is also the Administrator of the Parish of Tyholland.
  • Photos of Father Flynn and Father McEneaney are available on catholicbishops.ie.
  • Further information can be found on loughderg.org