THE parish priest of St Mary's Grafton, Father Rex Hackett, has been told it is inappropriate he officially take part in the parish's 150th anniversary celebrations this week.
The Bishop of Lismore, Geoffrey Jarrett, said there were several reasons why it was inappropriate for Fr Rex to have any official role in the celebrations.
"The present status of Father Rex Hackett in the Diocese of Lismore is that he is on extended leave," the bishop said.
"This means that Father Hackett is relieved of all parish duties, functions and responsibilities for the time being in the parish of Grafton and in the Diocese.
"Father James Griffin has been appointed as administrator of the Grafton parish. He has the responsibility to care for the people, administration and mission of the Parish of Grafton for the time being.
"Accordingly it is inappropriate for Fr Rex to so attend.
"These matters do not impinge on the celebrations in which we honour 150 years of catholicity in Grafton and environs.
"We honour the pioneering spirit of the people, the clergy and religious sisters and brothers, their self-sacrifice, faith and loyalty to the Church is an accolade we give today.
"I pay tribute to my predecessors who forged the faith and nurtured the work of the Church. Their courage and commitment remains an example to us all."
A member of the Hackett family who is close to Fr Rex, his nephew John Hackett, said his uncle wanted to attend the celebrations.
"I've been talking to Rex on the phone and he said he has been counselled not to come to Grafton," Mr Hackett said.
"Rex will be staying away from Grafton even though he would dearly like to be here."