The development of Pastoral Areas in the diocese grew out of the vision set forth in Pilgrim Steps and in consultation with the representatives of the different parishes of the diocese. Photo shows the original group of Pastoral Area Coordinators together with Bishop Bukley at a meeting in Innishannon House Hotel in September 2008.
The diocesan pastoral plan “Pilgrim Steps” which was published in 2005 recommended that parishes be reorganised into pastoral areas. In 2007 Bishop Buckley formed a working group to further explore ways of advancing greater cooperation between parishes. A diocesan meeting of clergy, religious, the chairpersons and secretaries of parish parish councils, parish assemblies and parish finance committees was convened on March 9th, 2008, in Cork, where proposals were presented by the bishop and the working group.
Following this initial presentation, a series of consultation meetings was held throughout the diocese in April 2008. The Pastoral Areas Working Group then revised and updated the plans to take account of the feedback from parishioners and clergy. The revised presentations were made at three meetings which were held on May 6, 7 and 8, 2008.
In June 2008, Bishop Buckley approved the configuration of sixteen pastoral areas and appointed a Pastoral Area Coordinator to each area. The newly appointed coordinators met as a group with Bishop Buckley for the first time in September 2008 and have typically meet three times each year with the bishop and the personnel of the Pastoral Development Office to review pastoral developments in each of the areas.
In 2009 the diocese published ‘Guidelines for Pastoral Area Coordinating Groups’ setting out the vision behind the creation of the pastoral areas as well as clearly establishing their role, their purpose and how they were to function.
In some instances the configuration of individual pastoral areas have been modified taking into account the views and preferences of the parishes concerned and always in consultation with any other parishes affected by the reconfiguration. There are presently seventeen pastoral areas in the diocese.
A list of these is available on the submenu to the right.