By Sarah Mac Donald - 09 March, 2014
Cloyne is establish parish pastoral councils across the diocese over the coming year as part of its commitment to church renewal and mission.
The planned roll out was announced in a statement by Bishop William Crean which was published to mark a year since his ordination as Bishop of Cloyne in 2013.
Discussing some of the developments which Cloyne has seen over those twelve months, Bishop Crean said that in early November, the priests of the diocese had met for a meeting to “develop a new conversation” about the future.
The day and a half long assembly was preceded by months of preparation and from it, the priests had identified three areas for reflection and prayer.
1. Our context in the light of our recent past
2. Priesthood today – challenge and opportunity
3. Renewing our sense of Mission
The discussion highlighted the realisation that Cloyne’s mission as a diocese could only be effective when every member of the diocese – lay person, priest, religious and bishop – fulfiled their role to the full.
“Accordingly, with the leadership of the Council of Priests and my personal support we will seek to extend this conversation to all parishes through the establishment of Parish Pastoral Councils. We will do so over the coming year,” Bishop Crean said.
He said these parish councils will afford the opportunity for all to participate and reflect on the challenges facing the mission of every parish community.
“Together we are co-responsible for the life and mission of our parish. Together with a deep faith and generosity of spirit we can truly renew our parishes,” the Bishop stated.
The councils will involve reflection, discernment, prayer and shared action and initiatives and will be slow in accomplishment as people grow accustomed to a new way of working together.
Elsewhere in his statement, Bishop Crean described the last twelve months as “filled with ‘firsts’” as the diocese strove to “begin anew” through bishop, people, religious and priests.
“It has been encouraging and heartening to experience the hospitality and deep communion that prevails in the diocese. Despite the challenges past and present, hope is strong because grace abounds,” he said.
Recalling his ordination on 27 January 2013, he said at the time he had called on the financial institutions to do some more of the heavy lifting and lighten some of the great burdens that some families are labouring under.
“I commend the efforts that some institutions have made and encourage them all to be creative in finding solutions for distressed families. It will help to renew hope and confidence for the whole of society.”
The Bishop also paid tribute to people in the diocese’s generosity in the recent Trócaire appeal for Syria and the Philippines which had raised over €200,000.
“This year’s Trócaire Lenten Campaign has a focus on the Church in Malawi. Take time at home and in school to deepen our awareness of the plight of the Church in need there,” Bishop Crean urged.
Finally, the leader of the Church in Cloyne reminded the faithful that Lent is a time of opportunity and journey.
“Together in faith we are conscious of the need to renew our life in some way. That the whole Church makes this journey together can give a sense of solidarity and encouragement,” he said.
Reminding people of the journey of Lent, the Bishop expressed concern that so many local families are “labouring under the strain of severe financial burdens.”
“We have a new awareness of the need to support one another in these difficult times. It is heartening to witness the care being given by so many. May we persevere in our giving,” he said.