By Cian Molloy - 26 January, 2020
Bishop Phonsie Cullinan of Waterford and Lismore has issued a “wake up” call to his flock, challenging them to go out and become evangelists.
In a New Year’s pastoral letter, Bishop Phonsie Cullinan notes that “about 90% of our people are not coming to church regularly” so, in a reference to St Luke’s Gospel, “we must go out “and seek the lost”.
Traditional values and beliefs are under threat the bishop believes, saying: “There is now a new culture, which is trying to undo the truths of the entire Judeo-Christian system from the ground up by redefining the meaning of personhood, of marriage, of the family, and classifying people on the basis of their sexual preference, raising individual rights over those of the unborn, and denigrating the sacredness of human life to its natural end.”
He added: “We must wake up to what is happening and, with the grace of God, change the culture from within. If you and I want a culture which is healthy, where family life is helped and supported, where people have hope and can live in freedom to love God and their neighbour as themselves, then we must play our part.”
In the letter, the bishop promises that he will meet with Parish Pastoral Councils in the months ahead to discuss the diocese’s pastoral plans for the next four years. Already, as part of the plan, the diocese has appointed a new Youth Ministry Officer and a new Development Officer, but because of their existing commitments they will not take on their new diocesan responsibilities until the autumn.
Meanwhile, the evangelical Alpha Programme is proving very popular and there are five NET ministers visiting schools and parishes providing faith testimonies and helping people strengthen their relationship with Jesus.