Report of the Diocesan Pastoral Strategy Group.
In May 2002 Bishop Buckley set up a group to assess
the pastoral situation in the diocese at this time and devise
a strategy for pastoral renewal over the next ten years. Over
the two to three year period the group consulted widely with all
the parishes and interests in the diocese. Approximately 5,000
people attended the local meetings. The final Report was published
in June. You can see the full Report or a summary of it on www.corkandross.org
We are told the good news is that the pulse of the Catholic Church
is strong in Cork and Ross. They say that very early on in the
work of the group it became clear that the collaborative model
of ministry was the only viable option for the diocese at this
time. By this they mean that the responsibility for promoting
Gospel values and building up the faith community in each parish
lies with all the members of the Church in that parish, not just
with the priests or teachers. They say that one of the most heartening
results of the consultation process was how strongly this notion
resonated with so many people throughout the diocese. The goal
of all those consulted was a vibrant Christian community in every
parish, supported by the diocese.
Fr. Tom Hayes has been appointed full-time Director of Pastoral
Strategy. Two full-time highly qualified and experienced lay people
and one part-time person who will coordinate the work and be available
as resource people for the parishes will join him.
I have talked with the current Parish Council about the implications
of this Report. They have advised that every means should be used
to bring the contents and recommendations of the document to the
attention of all the parishioners. The current Council would also
hope to see itself replaced by a more representative and well
Over the next few weeks Fr. Tim and I will be talking a little
bit more with you at the Stations about what all this entails.
We will make summary copies of the Report available to you. We
would hope to invite the Diocesan Pastoral Team to make a presentation
to us at an open Meeting here in the Parish sometime in late October
I suppose all of this may appear somewhat strange to people at
first sight. What is at issue really is the future of the Faith
and the shape of the Church in this Parish in the years to come.
I think everybody knows things have changed utterly and how we
structure our Church and our Parish will determine that future.
We don't know yet how things will work out because by definition
there are no ready-made answers. However, if we go forward in
faith, in an open-minded, listening, caring way I have no doubt
that the Holy Spirit of God will come to our aid. It will also
require a lot of patience on the part of all us. People who look
for quick answers and solutions are likely to be disappointed.
What we will be engaging with will be a process as we journey
together in faith. Let us ask God to guide our pilgrim steps.