BY AMANDA FERGUSON – 31 MARCH 2014
A priest acquitted of child sex abuse has shocked parishioners after stepping down from his post days after returning to ministry.
Fr Eugene Boland resumed his role as parish priest of Cappagh in the Diocese of Derry on March 15 after being found not guilty of indecent assault in 2012.
There were jubilant scenes in St Mary’s Chapel as more than 900 parishioners applauded Fr Boland as he made an emotional return to public life just days after being granted permission from the Vatican.
The smiling priest appeared delighted to be back with his flock.
“What I have missed most was not being able to celebrate Holy Mass or administer the sacraments,” he said.
“My priestly ministry has been on hold since 2010.
“Tonight is like a new dawn, a new beginning; it’s like a day of resurrection.”
As he spoke applause rang out and there were cheers in the balconies.
But there was surprise at Saturday night mass when it emerged that the Donegal-born priest had now resigned.
It is thought the stress of the last few years has taken its toll.
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