Cardinal Schönborn: To attend a major conference in Limerick
MANY readers will recall when small parishes had a couple of priests but now the Limerick diocese has only three seminarians in training.
There will be no ordination this summer. Currently there are 10 parishes without a resident priest in active ministry, though four have retired priests living in them.
“However, the issue of a resident priest is also a category that is slightly redundant as we have decided at the Synod to move into a style of ‘teams’ of priests looking after a number of parishes,” said a spokesperson for the Limerick diocese. Lay-led liturgies are just one element of the solution.
“In the early Church Tertullian wrote: “where two or three are gathered in the name of Jesus, there is the Church”. It’s a question of encouraging a vibrant community of faith, meeting to share experiences of the Gospel, encouraging one another in faith, going out towards the marginalised and engaging in missionary discipleship as Pope Francis often says,” said the spokesperson.
A recent meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Caherconlish for Cashel & Emly, Killaloe and Limerick dioceses heard concerns about workload and “clustering.
An example of a cluster given was of nine parishes held together by priests 84-years-old, 83-years-old and the remainder all over 70.
The shortage of priests is a constant topic with one saying, “We are in denial about vocations – not facing reality – we are part of a dying system”.
Meanwhile, a major conference in Limerick will be attended by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, a close confidant of Pope Francis and tipped to be his successor.
Let’s Talk Family: Let’s Be Family will be held at Mary I on July 13. Rev Professor Eamonn Conway, of Mary I, said the cardinal’s attendance is hugely significant and he will give a deeper insight into how the Church under Pope Francis is changing in the context of the family.
“Pope Francis has said that marriage and the family is in crisis and that the ‘culture of the temporary’ is seeing many people give up on marriage when there is so much to fight for. So, in that context, the conference, and attendance of Cardinal Schönborn is incredibly timely, not least with the World Meeting of Families here next year,” said Rev Porfessor Conway. To book a place at the conference contact 061 204507.