The cemetery on Walkin Street
Mass was not celebrated at the St Rioch’s Cemetery on Walkin Street on Thursday evening because no one contacted Cathedral administrator, Monsignor Kieron Kennedy, to let him know one was to take place.
A crowd arrived at the cemetery on the evening expecting the Mass to take place as advertised in some quarters, but no priest was forthcoming to celebrate it.
Speaking to the Kilkenny People yesterday (Tuesday), Monsignor Kennedy, who has pastoral responsibility for the parish, said no one contacted him or his office about the event. He says he would have gone out of his way to accommodate it if they had.
The Cemetery Mass has taken place on the first Thursday of August for the past number of years. Msgr Kennedy said he was indirectly aware that a Mass was being organised, but that neither he nor his colleague Fr Kieran O’ Shea nor any member of his office, know the name of the priest who was intended to celebrate it.
He said it was not only an issue of basic courtesy of colleague to colleague, but also a Diocesan protocol of many years standing and in keeping with the strict requirements of the Diocesan Safeguarding Policies.
The Monsignor says he can understand people were upset, and that it was ‘terrible’ that whoever the priest was didn’t do the decent thing and tell people that he couldn’t be there.
“This is what I can’t understand, nobody phoned here — they could have phoned me or my colleague Fr Kieran.”
He said he found it strange that when nobody presented themselves, nobody made contact: “We would have gone out of our way to accommodate them,” he said.
Monsignor Kennedy said that his office had made him aware that they receive notification every year for inclusion in the newsletters about the cemetery mass details for St Kieran’s Cemetery and also for Foulkstown Cemetery but never for St Rioch’s, which is within the parish.
Local councillor Patrick McKee said he and many others were disappointed with how events had transpired.
“We were all very upset — there were people there in their 90s who had to organise to get there,” he said.
“I’m hopeful that a resolution can be found to satisfy all parties. Our main concern is to ensure that those buried in St Rioch's are respected and remembered, and our annual mass takes place as is usual."