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Priest urges end to First Communion 'production line' 16.06.15

CULDAFF-born priest Fr Paddy O'Kane has revealed that of 121 children who recently made their First Holy Communion at his parish, just 20 returned to Mass the following Sunday.
Fr O'Kane, who is a parish priest at Holy Family, Derry, described the figure as "profoundly disappointing", adding that his experience was being mirrored throughout the diocese.
His comments come after another senior priest, Fr Michael Canny, recently drew criticism for saying that First Holy Communion had, for some families, become "an excuse for a party".
Fr Canny, who is official spokesman for the Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown, said the sacrament had become an exercise in "hypocrisy and mass delusion".
Fr O'Kane told parishioners that Fr Canny's comments had angered some because "the truth hurts".
He said priests are now pushing for childhood religious sacraments to be made "opt-in" rather than the traditional school "production line".
"Out of 121 children who made their First Holy Communion this year only about 20 returned to Mass the following Sunday, even though it marked the end of the ‘Do This in Memory of Me’ programme. This is profoundly disappointing," Fr O'Kane wrote in his Sunday newsletter at Holy Family parish.
He said a new approach would see an end to the 'automatic entitlement' to the sacrament through schools.
Fr Paddy O'Kane.
Meanwhile, Clonmany-born Fr Canny who is parish priest in the Waterside, Derry, told Inishowen News: “The issues relating to First Holy Communion and other sacraments is being reflected upon by priests and the Bishop of Derry among many other issues surrounding church attendance.”
Fr O'Kane has also invited suggestions via email on how to resolve the issue: paddy@okanes.org .
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