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Long-time pastor leaving Farragut flock

Father John Dowling, former pastor of St. John Neumann Catholic Church, speaks during a recent service.- Heather Mays/farragutpress
Father John Dowling, pastor at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, has announced his departure from the church.

His last day will be Sunday, Jan. 31. He’s been pastor at St. John Neumann since 1997.

“The Farragut community has been wonderful. And I think the cleanliness and friendliness of Farragut I’ll always remember,” Dowling said.

“People have been great. The Catholics and the people of other faiths as well have all been great here,” he added.

Dowling has overseen construction of the church’s multi-million dollar sanctuary, but he said one of his favorite memories is when St. John Neumann parishioners stepped up to build the Adoration Chapel.

“I think I saw the spirituality really begin to take shape in our parish when we built the Adoration Chapel,” Dowling said.

“We have people who pray in the Chapel 24 hours a day, seven days a week … we rotate people throughout the year,” he added. Only very rarely is someone not able to be in the Chapel praying.

“That may be the heartbeat of the parish, knowing people are praying all day long, 24/7.

“That, for me, was one of the most significant things that happened, because the entire parish was seeing the focal point on prayer,” Dowling said.

But that was hardly Dowling’s only fond memory of the parish.

“There are so many memories: the opening of the school,” he said. St. John Neumann School was dedicated the day before Dowling arrived as pastor.

“There are so many blessings I can’t really think of one in the church and the parish,” Dowling said.

Dowling will become pastor at Fairfield Glade.

“It’s near Crossville. … It’s about 1,000 people; it’s much smaller than St. John Neumann,” Dowling said.

“The average age is probably in the 70s, so it’s going to be quite different. But I enjoy working with people who are about the same age as I am,” he added with a laugh.

He said he was excited to be going to the resort area, where he has friends.

“I’m looking forward to it, really,” Dowling said.

St. John Neumann’s new pastor will be Father Patrick Garrity, former principal at Knoxville Catholic High School.


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