By Sarah Mac Donald - 19 November, 2014
The Killaloe Forum on the Diaconate, which is now known as ‘Seeds of Hope’, is to collaborate with the Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI) in an effort to make the church more relevant to 21st century Irish Catholics.
Bishop Kieran O’Reilly of Killaloe was forced to shelve plans this autumn to start training the first men as permanent deacons after the six women in ‘Seeds of Hope’, who all work in ministry in the diocese, voiced opposition to the move.
They highlighted that the permanent diaconate had not been part of an agreed diocesan pastoral plan for Killaloe.
Speaking to CatholicIreland.net, Martina Meskell of ‘Seeds of Hope’ said her group were very interested by the ACI’s emphasis on promoting education and opportunity among the laity.
The two groups aim to work together to push forward their vision for “an inclusive Church” where laity, religious and clergy “work in collaborative ministry” to enable “each person’s talents and gifts be utilised to the full,” she said.
Noel McCann of the ACI denied that the affiliation with his larger group would result in a loss of identity for ‘Seeds of Hope’.
“This is certainly not the intention behind the decision to affiliate. The ACI propose to meet shortly with the ‘Seeds of Hope’ leadership to discuss how the relationship might be best structured to the advantage of all involved,” he said.
He added that the actions of the Killaloe group in relation to the diaconate issue “exemplifies the type of constructive intervention which the laity must engage in if their voice is going to be heard in the debate on church reform.”
He said this would hopefully lead to the emergence of a more inclusive and compassionate church.
Possible joint initiatives will be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the representatives of the two groups.