By Sarah Mac Donald - 18 September, 2015
As part of a detailed review of how the councils have been received in the archdiocese since they were introduced in 2004, a facilitated conversation was carried out by the Office for Evangelisation and Ecumenism.
The main findings of these reviews were collated and summarised in booklet form.
Over 10 years ago, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin began promoting the concept of lay people working in partnership with clergy in running parishes in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
On Thursday evening, the Archbishop met many of the men and women who answered the first call to serve on a parish pastoral council.
Today, each of the 199 parishes in Dublin has a council through which priests and people pray and work together as partners, responsible for furthering the mission of the Church in their own local parish.
When he asked first called on people to take part in 2004, Archbishop Martin envisaged the councils as “fruitful instruments for a renewal of evangelisation, mission and service in parish communities.”
During the review, participants were asked to evaluate and advise on a number of areas including faith development, connecting with young people, working within parish groupings and recruitment of new council members.
In a clear assessment of the evolution of parish pastoral councils, the participants were candid in their assessment of what worked well and what needed improvement for the future.
Last night (Thursday 17 September) the chairpersons, secretaries and priests of participating parish pastoral councils gathered at St Paul’s on Arran Quay in Dublin for a celebration of this project.
Some of the key findings of the research were presented and those who attended were encouraged to bring the findings back to their parish councils to use it for their ongoing formation in the coming months.
During the autumn and spring, various initiatives in different parts of the diocese of Dublin will get underway to help the councils continue to make progress in some of the areas highlighted in the review.