By Sarah Mac Donald - 25 October, 2014
Assembly will offer broad directions for diocese which will be developed into a pastoral strategy for the next five years.
The message was relayed to Bishop Leo O’Reilly by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown.
In his message, the Pontiff prays that, “by walking together in this Assembly, the participants will encounter the truth and source of hope for their lives, Jesus Christ, and, filled with joy and gratitude, will share this gift by collaborating in building the kingdom, illuminating even the fringes of our world by their profession of faith and leading to ‘fruitfulness in the work of evangelisation’. (Evangelii Gaudium, 11)”
The Pope concludes by “commending all who gather at the Kilmore Diocesan Assembly to the intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God and imparting his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord Jesus.”
The Assembly, the third in the diocese since 2000, takes place in St Patrick’s College, Cavan, today and tomorrow (Sunday 26 October).
It marks the culmination of two years of planning and consultation.
Over 300 delegates are expected to attend, including representatives from each of the 35 parishes in Kilmore, as well as priests and permanent deacons, religious, pastoral assistants, and representatives of church-based organisations operating in the diocese.
Representatives from some of the other Christian faiths in the diocese will attend the opening session.
The theme of this year’s Assembly is taken from three words Pope Francis used during his first homily: “Walking Together, Building the Kingdom, Professing our Faith.”
Over the course of the two days, delegates will discuss a number of issues including:
There will be a number of small group and open forum discussions during the Assembly in order to hear the views of the parish delegates and other participants on how to address key pastoral challenges facing the Church in Kilmore.
The Assembly will seek to offer broad directions for the diocese, which the Diocesan Pastoral Council will develop into a more detailed pastoral strategy for the next five years.
Commenting on the opening of the Assembly, Bishop O’Reilly said,“In the planning for this Assembly, the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Steering Committee were conscious of the importance of hearing the views of people in the parishes, and particularly those on the margins of the Church.”
“There was a serious effort made to reach out to those who would not normally come to Church.”
He added that the feedback from those listening sessions in the parishes “gives us the context in which people live out their lives in our society today and the context in which we must try to preach and live out the message of Jesus.”
“The goal of our discussions and reflection will be to discern what the pressing issues for the Church in Kilmore are at present and how we will go about engaging with those issues in the years ahead.
“Previous assemblies in the Diocese held in 2000 and 2007 produced proposals and plans that have had a real impact on our parishes. We now take for granted a level of lay involvement in parish that would not have been imagined in the past. We have a range of initiatives ranging from adult faith formation courses to pre-sacramental programmes to pastoral area planning, youth programmes and so on, that all had their seeds in the assemblies of those years.
“It is within our power to bring about important changes in many areas which affect the life and worship of our parishes. I believe we need to look again at our celebration of the most important sacrament of all – the Sunday Eucharist. If the Eucharist is, as the Second Vatican Council told us, the source and summit of the Christian life, we have a duty to ensure that, as far as possible, people experience it as that.”
In addition to Bishop O’Reilly, the guest speakers at this weekend’s Assembly include:
Bishop Leo O’Reilly will be the principal celebrant and homilist at a special concelebrated Assembly Mass in the Cathedral of Saints Patrick and Felim, Cavan, on Sunday morning at 11:30am.