I am thrilled to use the above salutation, ‘My dear parishioners’, for the very first time. It goes without saying that I am delighted to have been appointed to this wonderful old parish of St Francis Xavier and guardian of Carfin Grotto. Having been brought up in Calderbank, only a few miles from here, I was no stranger to the grotto as a child and continued to make many visits to the grotto during the almost 37 years of my Priesthood. I am immensely proud to belong to a diocese which has this beautiful shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes and St Therese at its very heart. Having been no stranger to St Francis Xavier parish, especially during the time of Mgr. Millar, I am well acquainted with your proud tradition and sense of community.
I pledge with the help of the Mother of God, St. Joseph, St. Therese and St John Vianney (four of my closest ‘friends’), to serve you all to the very best of my ability. I beg your patience with me as I ‘learn the ropes’ with regard to the practices and customs of your parish. I ask your prayers for me and you can be most assured of my prayers for all of you.
With sincere hope and trust in God for what is to come,