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21st Century and Beyond

Fr. Desmond Knowles, straight from the Irish College in Paris, arrived in the parish in the summer of 1998. His easy manner and his interest in the liturgy and church decorations won him many friends throughout Tullylish. Supported by an active and enthusiastic group of parishioners, Fr. Knowles set about surveying church property. Necessary structural work was carried out to the Parochial House, Laurencetown and concrete paths were laid in the adjoining cemetery. Outhouses were tastefully renovated to a Parish Office and the young people from the area decorated the old Scout Den, which is now known simply as ‘The Den’.

The report on the roof of St. John's Church, Gilford confirmed their worst fears - a new roof was required, together with the necessary ancillary work. This work began in July 2005.

When Fr. Knowles left Laurencetown in September 2002, for one year, to oversee the setting up of an Irish Chaplaincy in Paris, Fr. Martin McAlinden temporarily replaced him in Laurencetown. In his absence, Fr. Paddy Joe Murray, C.C. Gilford, ably administered the parish. In August 2003, Fr. Knowles returned to Tullylish and was appointed a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter. Fr. Murray became Parish Priest of Aghaderg and Fr. McAlinden moved to Banbridge. Meanwhile, Fr. Arthur MacNeill, previously Parish Priest of Magheralin, was appointed as curate to Gilford.

In September 2005, St. Colman’s Clare celebrated its bi-centenary and an enthusiastic working group of 40 people worked tirelessly to ensure the Clare and its people would be forever remembered in history. A website (www.clare.org) was created.

In October 2005 Canon Knowles retired and was replaced by Fr. Gerry Powell, a native of Newry, who had been previously parish priest in Drumgath and St. Paul’s Lurgan.

So, in the 21st. century, Tullylish awaits whatever the future may hold. In this brief history of Tullylish only prominent clerics have found a mention and this, perhaps, has distorted the image of the past, which it presents. Many parishioners have, by their devotion and hard work, contributed generously in time, effort and finance to the development of their historic parish. This is not the final stage of its history but merely an interlude. The Catholic population of about 2,250 must face a world controlled by the triumphs of science and technology.

This account of Tullylish over the centuries gives hope that the values handed down by past generations will be cherished and maintained in the future.






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