By Sarah Mac Donald - 27 March, 2018
A recurring theme to emerge from the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin’s process of discussion is parishioners’ value and appreciation for their priests.
In his homily for the Chrism Mass on Monday evening, Bishop Denis Nulty spoke to his flock at the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow about the ongoing dialogue within the diocese on ‘Facing the Changes and Challenges Together’.
He said the one constant recurring theme has been the familiarity parishioners have with their priest in the parish and how much he is valued and appreciated.
Some of these priests are in their eighties and still administering parishes.
“As a diocese, as a faith family, we have so much this Chrism Night to give thanks for; our priests and the witness they give, sometimes at a cost to their own health and mental well-being,” Dr Nulty acknowledged.
He said he was “most grateful for that witness and that support” and he invited the faithful to pray for their priests and to keep them in their prayer in addition to the daily intention to pray for more vocations.
Welcoming priests and lay faithful from the diocese’s 56 parishes, he likened them to a family.
“With family comes familiarity. Family roots us, family gives us provenance, ownership rights. Familiarity is what we do with those rights, how we engage and interact with one another.”
He said the Amoris Programme is one aspect of this engagement.
Elsewhere in his sermon, he highlighted the role grandparents play in the lives of younger family members and said it should never be underestimated.
“Family is the place where people feel loved,” and he prayed for those who don’t experience that. “I pray our blessed oil tonight will offer them some comfort and solace.”
“Wounded and struggling families are also places where God’s love wins out. I imagine Pope Francis will speak more to the wounds of family life, than to those who snugly and contently feel they have it altogether.”
Recalling last August’s gathering of representatives from the 56 parishes of Kildare & Leighlin in Punchestown Racecourse, he said this “typified family”.
The gathering kick-started Kildare and Leighlin’s preparations for the World Meeting of Families, which begins in Dublin in 147 days’ time.
The final two days of the World Meeting of Families will be attended by Pope Francis – the Festival of Families in Croke Park and the concluding Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park.
The Amoris Programme ‘Let’s Talk Family! Let’s Be Family!’ is being offered in more than 20 different locations across Bishop Nulty’s diocese.