Ballymagroarty priest, Fr. Paddy O’Kane, is taking a five month sabbatical from his local ministry to undertake a course for clergymen in the Deep South.
Fr. O’Kane said the sojourn, almost a half century into his ministry, was long overdue and quipped that he’d be coming back with a southern drawl and a ten gallon hat.
He told parishioners: “As I have already explained I am going off on what is called a sabbatical - it gets its name from the same word as Sabbath, the Hebrew word for rest. Every seven years priests are called to a time of renewal just as Sunday is a day of rest.
“I am 44 years a priest this year so I am long overdue! It is a course of ministry to those who minister - 27 priests, brothers and sisters from all over the world will join me on this course which lasts for five months beginning next week.
“I promise to come back with a Southern drawl, wearing a Stetson and saying ‘How are y’all?’”