By Sarah Mac Donald - 03 April, 2016
The first Synod in the diocese of Limerick in 80 years and the first in Ireland in 50 years officially commences this evening with Mass at St John’s Cathedral in Limerick city.
The Mass opens a week-long series of events, culminating with the official Synod, a gathering of 400 delegates from Friday to Sunday, 8-10 April.
At this gathering, over 100 proposals across six separate themes for the future direction of the Church in Limerick will be discussed and voted on.
On Monday, at Cathedral House beside St John’s Cathedral, a papal blessing for the Synod will be handed over by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown.
The Synod was convoked by Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick in December 2014 to look at ways of reinvigorating the Church and how it operates in the diocese so that it best meets the spiritual and pastoral needs of the people of Limerick in the years ahead, taking into account the good work and challenges of the past and challenges and opportunities of the future.
The past 16 months have involved a ‘Listening Process’ with over 5,000 people from across the diocese, out of which the six themes for the Synod gathering of over 400 delegates and priests next weekend were chosen.
The themes are:
The listening process effectively amounted to the largest body of research done in Ireland by any entity in 2015, with questionnaires responded to by over 4,000 people across the diocese.
Speaking recently about the Synod, Director Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon said, “Each of the three preparatory phases have been equally important for us and the Synod is now in sight.”
The delegates – 70% of whom are lay people – are representative of the faithful across the diocese, with delegates drawn from all socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities and including all ages, from older citizens to even primary school students.