ACP West Priests’ Meeting,

ACP West Priests’ Meeting,

Wed 08 March 2017,

McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris, Co Mayo

SUMMARY: c 60 priests present from Tuam, Achonry, Killala and Elphin.
Brendan Hoban welcomed all. Michael Gilroy chaired the meeting.
There were 23 contributions from the floor.
Among the issues:
Fears: More workloads and clustering won’t work. We need to be able to say no, to bishops and people. Too many church ‘things’ remove us from the community.
Bullying by bishops. We are not trusted.
Ongoing scandals – today it’s the Tuam babies, something else tomorrow – this is draining and wears you down. Alongside scandals we also alienate people, especially those who are most supportive, e.g., a male only deaconate being proposed for Tuam.
Retirement: ACP should assist priests about to retire. (Excellent weeklong retirement course in Stirling, Scotland, according to one priest.) Retirement does not mean administering two or three parishes!
Leadership: We are supposed to be leaders, yet we have no training or supports. We know the theory but the practice is different. There is a need for pastoral leadership. A need for co-responsibility in parishes. Too much is expected of PPs, from vetting to safeguarding to finance. We need a new church model – a community of believers. Change will come from the young, not us. ACP needs to ENVISION a way forward for the church. We need a vision like Pope Francis. We need small Gospel-hungry groups.
Supports: Circles of Healing available. More local and cross-diocesan meetings needed from the ACP. They afford men the chance to meet and talk face to face.
Hopes: Need to respect differences at all levels. Need to pursue the bishops for ACP conversation. We need to listen more.
Other: Priests from abroad working in Ireland need help. (There is an acculturation training course in Kimmage Manor, Dublin.)

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  1. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    Is it just me or was there a resounding statement captured from a German Cardinal Marx?
    German Cardinal Reinhard Marx plans to allow lay people in his archdiocese to run parishes in response to the priest shortage there and is also open to the possibility of married priests according to La Croix International.
    I guess we have Benedict to thank for that one, ladies and gentlemen.

  2. Hello,
    Any particulars on that course in Sterling – retirement?
    THank you

  3. Excellent idea form Cardinal Marx about allowing lay people to lead and administer Parishes. My only concern for Ireland is the rapidly drying up financial situation in the Irish Church to properly and justly remunerate such lay leaders – as they rightly deserve. The same holds true for married priests ….many Parishes in Ireland are now barely able to adequately support the salary of one (unmarried) priest ….never mind a priest who will have to support a wife and family expenses. Most Irish Catholics under 60 see no need to financially support the running of the Parish or the just remuneration of their priest. The German Church are fortunate enough to have the Kirke Tax …with resources to fund such things

  4. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    Well Michael @ 3, I certainly have an idea on how to capitalize on a demographic in a first-ever, carbon-free parish fundraiser that is built for an 18 month project roll-out but could easily continue past the parameter I’ve created for Pope Francis’s potential arrival in 2018.
    It bridges a gap between parishes and the talent within the Irish Catholic population who hold portfolios in arts that can be digitized. I’m in the process of convincing the who’s who of the Catholic reform movement in Ireland; an idea of such magnitude can only take root with support from the general population. This will remain an idea until interested parties come forward and start to consult on the proper cultural formation of such a platform.
    This is a journey I’ve been on since 2010. I’m hoping my seventh year will provide a breakthrough. We’ve only got 7 years with Pope Francis (estimation) and putting things in place now are more important than ever.

  5. Phil Greene says:

    re leadership – the book “Fierce conversations” by Susan Scott may be of help in the interim.

  6. Phil Greene says:

    Yes Lloyd , I agree, and it gets better 🙂 keep watching and reading and … best of all … applying 🙂 Enjoy !

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