On Friday 8th September 2023,  Bishop Michael introduced the Revd Vicki Lynch as Priest-in-Charge of the West Clare parishes of the Drumcliffe Union of Kilfenora, Ennis, Spanish Point and Kilnasoolagh. That day was also the Feast of the Birth of Blessed Mary the Mother of the Lord and the set Gospel reading for that feast day was Luke Chapter 1: 46 – 55, the Magnificat.  Using Mary as an example, the Revd Dr Christine O’Dowd Smyth took the ministry of women as the theme for her Sermon.

There was full ecumenical representation from local Catholic Priests, Benedictines and lay members, with four Parish Priests representing their parishes.  Fr Tom Ryan PP of Ennis recalled that  he had been born and raised in Ennis and could remember past Rectors of the parish in his time who were committed to ecumenism and each of them had enjoyed excellent relationships with the local Catholic churches.  Fr Tom welcomed Vicki as the first woman to hold the role of Priest in Charge in the parish and looked forward to working with her.

The Revd Stephen Foster from the Methodist church also welcomed Vicki and pointed out that Vicki had spent 7 Years as a Methodist Minister in Limerick.

Welcoming Vicki back to these parishes, Diocesan Reader, Stephen Fletcher said the Vicki had been ordained in the church of St Columba’s, had married her daughter in the church and was about to baptise her grandson here and this was very much a church she felt connected to. He pointed out that Vicki had been living and working in various ways in the local communities for nearly 30 years, currently working as Chaplain to Bushypark Addiction Treatment Centre in Ennis and also researching a model of lay pastoral care with the West Clare community and the RC parishes of Mullagh and Miltown Malbay.

He said how delighted and relieved the parishes were when they heard that Vicki was returning to these parishes, and he warmly welcomed her home!

Stephen Fletcher, DCO, TLK