Major tourist resort, Byron Bay, will be without a regular Sunday Mass from this weekend after Lismore Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett announced the amalgamation of parishes in the whole Byron shire.
Byron News reports a crippling shortage of priests has brought the tradition of Sunday Masses at St Finbarr's Catholic Church at Byron Bay to its knees.
The weekend after next will see the last Sunday Mass in the church for the foreseeable future, with the Saturday evening service the only one available in the town for parishioners, or they have the choice of going to Bangalow for the later Sunday morning service.
The priest shortage also will impact on services at Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads, with Bishop of Lismore Geoffrey Jarrett formally announcing the creation of a new parish to cover the whole of the Byron Shire.
Fr Anthony Lemon from Byron Bay has been appointed parish priest of the new parish, with Mullumbimby's Fr David Gilbert appointed parish priest of Sacred Heart Murwillumbah.
In a letter to Byron Bay parishioners, Fr Lemon said the new arrangements would see an unavoidable reduction in the number of masses celebrated in each town.
He said Bishop Jarrett had told pastoral councils from Byron Bay and Mullumbimby that it had caused him pain and discomfort to amalgamate the church communities, but a serious reduction in the number of active clergy had left no other option.
Sunday masses come to an end at Byron Bay (Byron News, 19/6/08)