Parishes to make radical changes for new sense of mission

Lisa and Rosanna Looney with Bishop Fintan Gavin, following Mass at Clogheen Church. (Photos Michael English)

Parishes of the Diocese of Cork and Ross can expect radical changes in the coming years, according to Bishop Fintan Gavin who was addressing the congregation at Mass in a parish which no longer has a resident priest.

Bishop Fintan was speaking during Mass at Clogheen Church when he made a pastoral visit to the parish this past weekend.

“As we begin public worship again and as we take small steps out of the pandemic we ask the what the Holy Spirit is asking us to be as Church,” Bishop Fintan said.

Bishop Fintan Gavin, with Clogheen/Kerry Pike church Covid 19 sanitisers, Breda O’Connor-Ferguson, Deirdre O’Brien and Anthony O’Connor, following Mass at Clogheen.

Clogheen/Kerry Pike and the neighbouring parishes of Knocknaheeny, Gurranabraher and Farranree have recently began working together as a family of parishes.

All the parishes of the diocese are going to see radical change, he said.

“We have to re-configure our parish faith communities for Mission so that we can reach out to those on the margins of our church who no longer feel part of our church faith community – so many of our young people and those hurt by the Church.”

“We have to find new ways of going out beyond ourselves if we want to pass on the faith to the next generation.”

Clogheen/Kerry Pike Parish is growing as new houses are built and new families move in. 

Bishop Fintan Gavin, Dr. John Sheehan, Fr. Greg Howard PP and Alice Conroy chatting after Mass at Clogheen Church.

“How do we reach out and invite them to be part of the community,” Bishop Fintan asked.

This renewal of parish life will be led by parishioners and priests collaborating in new ways.

“It will involve greater responsibility being borne by the people of the parish for your faith community in co-responsibility with the priests,” Bishop Fintan said.

Along with closer collaboration within parishes, parishes are being asked to also reach across traditional boundaries to grow together.

“It will involve you and the other three parish communities working closer together on various joint initiatives: developing baptism teams, funeral teams, initiatives of welcome and reaching out are just some examples.”

Bishop Fintan said that the Office for Mission and Ministry in the diocese will support this renewal.

“I look forward to working with you, your parish leadership groups and your priests as we begin this new and exciting chapter of the journey of this family of parishes discovering new and creative ways of being Church,” he said.