Over 400 people attend ACP meeting in Galway

The Association of Catholic Priests held a meeting entitled ‘Towards and Assembly for the West’ in the Clayton Hotel Galway on Saturday 6th Oct.
Four hundred people attended. The energy and enthusiasm of the gathering was equal to what we experienced at the Regency Hotel last May.
The speakers, both from the platform and the floor, spoke about their commitment to their faith and to the Church, but stressed over and over again that it is our Church;  they want to belong, to be involved, and to be regarded as equals in the Church, as was envisioned by the Second Vatican Council.
Considerable disappointment was expressed at the absence of any bishop, even though all the bishops of the west had been invited.  It was the strong feeling of the meeting that the bishops be asked to engage actively with the energy and enthusiasm that is being unleashed in the Church as a result of the regional gatherings being organised by the ACP, and the emergence of the Association of Catholics of Ireland (ACI)
There was also a strong sense that time is short;  there is a window of opportunity now to secure the future of the faith in Ireland.  But it will not be there for much longer.  Local churches have died out in the past and it is important that we now work together to ensure that the Irish Catholic Church not only survives but flourishes.
• Report compiled by Brendan Hoban (086 6065055) and Tony Flannery (087 6814699)

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  1. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Once again from the Pastoral Theological Manual of Clancy & Makem:
    “I give you the gallant old West, boys and girls,
    Where rallied our bravest and best
    When Ireland’s Church lay broken and bleeding
    Hurrah for the Wo/men of the West!”
    Just over three years ago in Rome in a homily to his priests, I believe near the then tomb of Pope John Paul II, Bishop Donal Murray spoke of the great old local churches of North Africa, like Carthage and Leptis Magna, now existing only in ruins and as the titular sees of auxiliary bishops in dioceses like Cork & Ross, Dublin or Armagh. He wondered how long it would be before local churches like Limerick or Armagh would survive only as titular sees for bishops in Korea, China or some African diocese.
    So if the bishops don’t even dare or deign to peek through these windows of opportunity provided by the ACP, what will future auxiliaries in Makeni, Ikot Ekpene, Nsukka or Barquisimeto make of the barbaric,outlandishly unpronounceable titles Rome (if it still exists) has foisted upon them: Achadensis, Alladensis, Ardachadensis, Galviensis, Clonfertensis, Elphinensis, Kilfenorensis, Tuamensis ?

  2. Jane Forde says:

    Thank you for this wonderful experience of being part of an inclusive, listening church.
    It was my first time at any of your gatherings and the atmosphere of openness, prayer, acceptance and respect for everyone was wonderful. For me it was a Mount Tabor moment. It simply felt good to be there.
    May the Holy Spirit continue to bless you and keep the light of faith alive in us all.
    God bless you all.

  3. Des Gilroy says:

    Very encouraged by large turnout of laypersons to the Galway meeting. Shows that the committed are not prepared to allow their church sink any further due to the lack of episcopal leadership. Once again very disappointing that not one western bishop was interested enough in hearing what our priests and our laity have to say. Another letter from them read to us at Sunday Mass. When will they realise that the time for lecturing to us has passed and the time for dialogue is now.?
    Would suggest to the leadership of the ACP and ACI that individual, personalised invitations be sent to the southern bishops prior to Cork and let’s have their responses, if any, published on this website.
    It is also great to read of the energy and enthusiasm in Galway, reinforcing that experienced at both the ACP meeting in the Regency and the ACI meeting in All Hallows. Maybe we could have more information on the Galway response to the ACI initiative!

  4. Good for you all. Not the first time bishops have not been where they might, should have been. Might work to the good too – deepen a relationship with, faith in God. All good things come down from the Father of lights.
    Keep going and thank God for what you achieved there. I don’t think people need permission to bring about those “good things” from those afraid, for whatever reasons, to do so themselves.
    Evolution is a slow process, and if I did not truly believe this Church were capable of evolving I’d leave the dead to bury the dead.
    Well done and keep your hearts and spirits up.
    May the Holy Spirit illuminate the way for all – at the top, bottom, sideways and every which way.
    God bless you all.

  5. Joe O'Leary says:

    The bishops have the impression that they might face hostile criticism, and they have certainly has enough of that. Perhaps they are timing their participation, or waiting a la Gamaliel to see how things ripen. In any case it should not be necessary to look to bishops — who are mostly harried, somewhat helpless men. Better to form one’s own positive model of churchhood and develop strong lay leaders courageous enough to take responsibility.

  6. I am looking forward to meeting Fr.Hoban next Saturday at the Cork meeting. We knew each other for many years in County Mayo. As a married priest, don’t know what I can contribute to the gathering. But I am at one with the organisers in saying that time is running out for the Irish church. Only wish I were younger and in better health that I might be able to do something to forward the ACP’S aims. In the meantime do have a look at my website and photo gallery in order that you will know sosmething about me when we meet, please God. Intend to arrive for the morning coffee break.
    Best wishes and may the Holy Spirit guide your deliberations.

  7. Do they know they won’t face hostility ? One thing I learned navigating my own ‘sea of mistrust’ was the serious miscommunication, misinformation, disinformation, dishonesty and at times downright gossip. That’s where I ended up choosing, learning perhaps to trust my own instincts, heart. That the world is not full of monsters waiting to devour all n’ sundry.
    Mary Valley quoted something in another thread about evangelization. Not so long ago I could not have cared less about evangelization. But taking that leap of faith, of trust – that’s changed. Someone sent me something from some archbishop in the Phillipines. Read it this morning. He quoted Mother Teresa, “evangelization is the Jesus in my heart seeking the Jesus in yours.” It’s not about telling others what to do but what God has done, does for us.
    I am looking very much the last few days at Paul’s words about love – charity. These too say so much. It’s a challenge each day, each moment at times.
    I think too on reflecting upon some of my own experience in various dealings – there has been grave misunderstanding and misapplication of charity. But the truth, the reality, certainly for me is to agree with Paul, “it is a better way” – the greatest indeed.
    Prayer. We all need to pray. And trust.
    Keep your hearts up and I hope and pray that charity prevails and all that keeps apart be removed and you find unity of mission.
    1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

  8. patricia mcgowan says:

    The Saturday meeting was energizing and encouraging. I loved the sense of the faithful who emphasized respect, unity, constructive criticism, and so on. I think the bishops are doing everyone a favour by not coming. There is so much to get said first, before consulting them. Perhaps people would not feel as free to speak if they were present.

  9. Eddie Finnegan says:

    A Sheepish Sonnet for Stray Shepherds
    Last Saturday near Eyre Square*
    I met some men who weren’t there;
    They weren’t there on 7th May –
    They won’t be there in Cork today.
    But if we meet in North Kildare –
    Say, Columba Centre or Joe’s Square –
    That week before St Patrick’s Day,
    They’ve no escape – they’ll have to stay;
    And no excuse but meet us there –
    Unless they’re early ‘on the tear’.
    E’en yesterday in the public square
    I met those men who weren’t there;
    They weren’t there again today –
    I oft-times wish they’d go away!
    * well no it wasn’t Eyre Square, but Ballybrit wouldn’t fit.

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