At a meeting of 18 January, 2017, a decision was made by the leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) to hold regional meetings of priests to explore in practical detail the worries and the fears that surfaced about the wellbeing of Irish priests at our recent AGM.
Accordingly, a meeting has been arranged in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris on Wednesday, 08 March at 2.00pm.
Another, for the Southern Region has been scheduled for 15 March in The Parish Centre, Ovens, Co. Cork from 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm.
As an Association of Priests, we are very aware of how difficult life is for priests in Ireland now, how stressed many of us feel, how isolated we can be, and how our increased work-load and further unrealistic expectations are making retirement and old age more and more problematic.
As the average age of priests in Ireland edges towards 70, it’s clear that the experts on how priests feel and what priests need are priests themselves. This is why our meeting will focus on listening to what priests have to say and pondering down-to-earth and practical responses to our felt needs in considering our difficult future.
Among the issues to be addressed will be:
- The canonical and civil rights of priests;
- What legal advice and support is available for priests in difficulty;
- Where ‘clustering’ is leading;
- How increased work and added responsibility are impinging on our health;
- Retirement, accommodation and pensions;
- Support in dealing with bishops;
- Any other issues priests may wish to raise.
It is hoped that these meetings will be part of a wider consultation of priests, ACP members and others, who may wish to participate which may lead to agreed protocols of support to enhance the wellbeing of priests in Ireland.