There is “little sense of mission within the Catholic Church in Ireland” and no sense of what that mission should be, Bishop Dermot Farrell tells conference in Kilkenny.
“Unless there is a radical reappraisal of what a parish community should be, there can be no real progress.” —Bishop Denis Nulty
“Social media are powerful instruments yet paradoxically they can sadly become a trap for fruitless and at times even nasty internal Church polemics.”
"Our job is primarily to support the Church in those places where it does not have the material resources to carry out its pastoral activities or where Christians are suffering from oppression, persecution and violence.”
Let us pray together that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.
"Priestly vocations are everyone’s business, but if priests, deacons, parish pastoral workers, parish council members do not lead the conversation, then who will?"
“All reasonable and fair options should be considered as possible, so this neither rules in or rules out various outcomes” – Mgr Gearoid Dullea, executive secretary to the Irish Bishops’ Conference.
“As a diocese, as a faith family, we have so much this Chrism Night to give thanks for; our priests and the witness they give, sometimes at a cost to their own health and mental well-being” - Bishop Denis Nulty.
"Those who were killed are only the tip of the iceberg, as the list of pastoral workers or Catholics, assaulted, beaten, robbed, threatened, as well as Catholic structures vandalised or looted is long," says Fides Agency.
“It is my express intention to keep all our 117 churches open. This won’t happen without support from outside Ireland. This won’t happen without lay people taking a greater role of leadership in their local faith communities,” said Bishop Nulty.
“The present situation of the shortage of vocations, the age profile of the priests and the stress associated with such realities needs serious reflection,” said Bishop Nulty.
The meeting was organised to explore ways in which the diocese can respond to the pastoral needs of parishioners in light of the declining numbers of priests.
“At present, there are 90 priests ministering in our diocese; 27 of them are over 75. This stark figure reminds us that a radical reappraisal of what a parish community should be, how it should be organised, co-ordinated, funded and ministered, is necessary.”
Over the next 13 years, 28 of our 53 diocesan priests will reach the retirement age of 75 years. By the time children baptised this year reach Confirmation our diocese will be a very different place.
New approach will see priests work across different parishes and while there won’t necessarily be a priest living in every parish, there will be a parish priest for every parish.
“We appreciate that there are manpower issues both within the Vincentian community and the diocese. We do not believe the announcement is the correct solution to this situation."