By Sarah Mac Donald - 31 March, 2015
In his Easter Message, the Bishop of Limerick said that he has been struck by the “impressive level of genuine response shown by teenagers” in recent consultations with them in relation to the Synod.
He issued an open invitation to teenagers and all others to participate in the renewal of the Church locally through the Limerick Diocesan Synod.
Thousands of young people, he said, from across the diocese will put forward their opinions over the coming months on the issues they would like to see addressed at the Synod, which takes place in April 2016.
Dr Leahy said he had been greatly encouraged by the engagement to date of teenagers offering feedback on how they see the Church’s future.
“Easter is the ultimate season of new beginnings and our Synod process, which is very much underway, is itself a path of discovery to a new beginning,” he said in his Easter message.
“It’s about trying to determine what type of diocese we want in the years ahead and it has been especially heartening for me to speak about the Synod in recent weeks with groups of remarkable teenagers from around the Diocese.”
In his message, he said that the consultation had convinced him even more that the ‘young Church’ in Limerick diocese “will offer a vital contribution to our Synod”.
“Young people care about the Church and that’s the message very much coming across. Our task now is to harness those opinions and put them into the mix with all others so that we have a very clear pathway forward,” he said.
“Last Thursday in the Woodlands Hotel in Adare, for example, was typical of the experience we are having in terms of youth engagement with the Synod. We had a gathering of almost 100 students and teachers and it was a remarkable and refreshing experience. The students gave us much food for thought for the Synod, suggestions about the way forward.”
“But above all else, the level of genuine desire to offer their contribution was striking. I believe their youthful honesty and passion will inject great confidence and momentum into the Synod. I experienced this also in my conversation with the youth council of Askeaton and Ballysteen parish.”
Bishop Leahy said that there was a broad ranging discussion around many topics at the events.
“One of the suggestions very much coming across was the role that the Catholic Church can play locally and globally in the area of mental health and providing supports for young people for what can be a stressful and pressurised stage of life.”
“There was also much conversation about women in the Church and how they can have a greater role going forward and that is, indeed, something we want to achieve in the Diocese. It really was an open, proactive session and typical of what we have experienced so far on this journey,” he continued.
Bishop Leahy extended open invitation to all ages, young and old, to have their say in what will be discussed next year when the Synod convenes.
They can do this through a questionnaire being distributed parishes and which is also available online on the Synod website www.synod2016.com