Belfast Telegraph

Singing priests hit a high note in reshuffle

Promotion for pair after diocese rings the changes

By Alf McCreary

Two members of the highly-successful group The Priests have been given new roles after a diocesan reshuffle.

The changes in Down and Connor were announced by Bishop Noel Treanor yesterday.

Fr Manuelito Milo, the first non-national to be ordained in an Irish diocese, has also been given a new appointment.

The Very Reverend Eugene O'Hagan, one of singing trio The Priests, who is already the Chancellor of the Diocese, has been given the additional appointment of Vicar-General.

In Canon Law the Vicar-General has responsibility for the Diocese in the absence of the Bishop.

The Very Rev David Delargy, also part of the singing troupe and at present Parish Priest of St Michael the Archangel in west Belfast, becomes Parish Priest of the Lough Shore Parishes of Whitehouse, Greencastle and St James. Fr Martin O'Hagan, the third member of The Priests, is currently the Parish Priest in Newtownards and Comber.

As well as this series of best-selling CDs which have brought them widespread international fame, The Priests undertake regular concert tours in Ireland, the UK and elsewhere.

However, their recording contract also allows them to fulfil their normal clerical duties in their different roles.

Fr Manuelito Milo, who was born in the Philippines, was ordained into the Diocese of Down and Connor on June 25 last year, and he has been appointed as a curate at St Patrick's, with additional duties at the Mater Hospital.

He was educated at St Malachy's and Queen's University, and later at Maynooth. He was a chaplain in Cork University Hospital before coming to Belfast where he was engaged in pastoral work, prior to his ordination.

Other appointments include that of the Very Rev Martin Magill, currently administrator of Ballyclare and Ballygowan near Larne, who will become Parish Priest at St John's in Belfast.

Fr Magill is a well-known ecumenist who has worked closely with the Rev Steve Stockman, minister of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, in establishing the annual Four Corners Festival in Belfast.

Last night Fr Magill told the Belfast Telegraph that he was moving with mixed emotions.

"I am heartbroken to be leaving the Ballyclare and Ballygowan parish, where I really enjoyed my last 11 months as administrator," he said. "However, I am also looking forward to returning to Belfast, having been in west Belfast for 15 years.

"I'm looking forward particularly to coming to St John's and working with the local politicians and the community."

Another significant appointment is that of Paula McKeown, who becomes director of the Living Church Project, in succession to the former director Alan McGuckian, who was recently installed as Bishop of Raphoe.

Fr Ciaran Feeney, the Parish Priest of St Colmcille's on the Newtownards Road, has been appointed to St Michael the Archangel's.

Fr Feeney informed his congregation at yesterday's Mass, and afterwards received a standing ovation.

All appointments take effect from September 22.

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