Annual General Meeting, Tuesday, 24 November

Annual General Meeting

of the

Association of Catholic Priests

will be held at the

Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone,


Tuesday, 24 November




Agenda of AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests ­ 2015
The Association of Catholic Priests will hold its AGM at Hodson Bay Hotel,
on November 24th, 2015 from 2.00pm to 4.30pm.
The keynote speaker this year will be Helen Costigan, SHCJ, a canon lawyer
from England who lectures in Heythrop College, London. She will speak on the
“Clerical Sexual Misconduct: rights and responsibilities’.
In an article in the June issue of The Furrow she asked questions about the
legality of some of the procedures being used by Church authorities in
dealing with their priests.
Born in Scotland, Helen Costigan attended the University of Glasgow, and
studied History and Politics. Moving to London, she completed a Diploma in
Management while working in marketing, then joined one of the-then Big 4
accountancy firms, qualifying as a chartered accountant.  After joining the
Society of the Holy Child Jesus, she studied at Heythrop College, gaining a
Postgraduate Diploma in Pastoral Theology (with distinction), and an M.Th.
in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. She then continued part-time study at
K U Leuven, in Belgium, for a JCL (Licentiate in Canon Law, magna cum
laude), with a thesis entitled “Clerical Sexual Misconduct: Is There Another
Way Forward?¹, and a JCD (Doctorate in Canon Law), with a thesis on the
temporal goods of the Church.
Chair: Gerry O¹Connor, C.Ss.R.
1. Opening Prayer
2. Introduction
3. Address of Helen Costigan, SHCJ
4. Open forum : Comment, opinion, possible resolution.
Break for tea/coffee.
5. Business meeting:
Some weeks ago the Leadership of the ACP had a meeting with about ten members to discuss issues relating to the future of the association.  The report of that meeting is:  http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2015/09/report-on-acp-meeting-09-september-2015/
We invite members to read this report, and if they wish to bring up other issues about the ACP, its structure, purpose, future, etc., to please send proposals for the AGM to any of the Leadership Team at least a week before the AGM takes place. The following three points came through that meeting:
(i)   Proposal to appoint an executive secretary
(ii)  Proposal to appoint an advisory council
(iii) Proposal re leadership
6. Three Specific Points:
(i)   The election of bishops. The Leadership will put a statement to the members for approval.
(ii)   The vocations crisis
(iii)   “Silenced¹ priests and the Year of Mercy
7.   Laudato Si, Pope Francis” encyclical on the environment.  Sean McDonagh will speak briefly on the encyclical.
8. Summing up
9. Final prayer
The AGM is open to all priests, members and non-members.
The AGM is open to the media.
We encourage members to spread the word, especially to priests who do not use the internet. If members could get it into diocesan bulletins it would be great, or if not to ring around those you know are interested, be they members or not.
Religious might be able to get the agenda onto the community notice boards.
This is an important time in the history of the ACP, and we would appreciate a good attendance at the AGM.


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  1. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Under Specific Point 6.ii of the Agenda, ‘The Vocations Crisis’, could the ACP meeting give some reconsideration to one aspect or tactic of what Brendan touched upon a couple of weeks back in his article, ‘Camouflaging an Inevitable Reality’? I refer to what is becoming known somewhat witheringly and, I believe, prejudicially as the “importation” of priests from Africa and Asia. Is there a suggestion there that, like everything else we import from Africa, these priests are just “raw products”, unprocessed, with no value added – and possibly even dangerous to Irish parishes’ pastoral and cultural well-being?
    It ain’t necessarily so! Sarah Mac Donald’s article, “Can Africa warm the soul of Ireland?”, in yesterday’s TABLET 17th October) seeks to provide a wider and more balanced picture. This link may not be the most useful way to access the article: http://www.exacteditions.com/read/tablet/17-october-2015-46733/15/2/ . If someone else can give a better link, or reproduce the article on this site, please do.
    Isolated incidents such as Fr Joseph Okere’s recent attribution of Ireland’s same-sex marriage vote to the work of the devil may lend some weight to what Brendan had in mind: “they (African or Indian priests)may try to replicate their own pastoral practices and cause more problems than they will solve.” Or maybe Fr Okere just hasn’t had enough time in Longford to study the arts of subtlety and political correctness in the name of pastorally pragmatic enlightenment, in the schools of Mel of Ardagh or Ciarán of Clonmacnois.
    In Sarah Mac Donald’s Tablet piece “Sr Kathleen McGarvey, President of the Irish Missionary Union,disagrees with Fr Hoban’s view. She believes the Irish Church must look at the situation differently and grasp that there is much to gain from mutuality, from receiving just as from giving.”
    Sr Kathleen goes on to say: “It will be challenging to ensure they are integrated into Irish society, learn to dialogue respectfully with Irish culture and society, and learn to touch our Celtic roots and spirituality.”
    Now if only all Irish missionaries in the past had been equipped to rise to this “challenge of inculturation” in the African or Indian societies and cultures in which they found themselves,what Brendan Hoban described as “the long and impressive missionary contribution of the Irish Church to Catholicism throughout the world” would have been unblemished, with not even a maverick Fr Joe O’ Kere in sight.

  2. I would second Soline’s proposal @1. Its time to bite the bullet gentlemen.

  3. Dear Friends,
    I was very impressed by the Leadership Committee asking such an important question as … should the ACP continue to exist ? A deeply empowering question that cuts to the meaning and purpose of what we are trying to achieve. The suggestion of discerning the possibility of financing a paid director or manager seems really relevant to me. Of course it will mean financing a wage. A counselling session, a supervisory session, a spiritual guidance session will cost 50 – 60 euro. I think that we will have to consider asking our members to donate more, if they can, in order to underpin and support a progressive movement into the future. best regards

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