Forum held in Cork church suggests similar groups in every parish

The Faith in Action Group, Ballineaspaig Parish, Dennehy’s Cross, Cork invited those living in Cork city and county who had registered to attend the ACP ‘Towards an Assembly’ regional meeting on 13 October to a Forum on Sunday, 25th November 2012. The purpose of the Forum was to address the structures, roles and needs of the Catholic Church at this time, and to discern how we can best move forward and progress the issues which confront us. Each participant was asked to come prepared to share what they see as the most important issues for them, and how they believe they might be addressed. Forty five people participated.
The Forum opened with a reading of the Gospel of the day (John 18: 33-37), followed by the prayer was said before every meeting of Vatican II. *
Daithí Ó hAodha, Chair, then briefly outlined the interests and activities of the Faith in Action Group, and the increasing concerns of the Group about the crisis facing the Church. Following on the Southern Assembly of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), discussion with other participants led to the question of “What Now”? Enquiries to the ACP and the Association of Catholics of Ireland (ACI) encouraged local action, and Fr. Kieran, our Parish Priest agreed to the use of the Crypt for a meeting.
Daithí explained that Fr. Tom Deenihan, Diocesan Secretary, had been invited to the meeting but that he was unable to attend.
Group discussions
The participants then formed seven groups of six or seven. Each group was asked to take 20 minutes to discuss their main issues and concerns, reporting back on their three priorities and some practical solutions to their achievement. These are summarised below:
• Need for a Gospel-based Church
• Need for Listening, Communication, Dialogue
• Empowerment of Laity
• Need for Faith Development
• Need for Vision and Leadership
• Need for mutual support
• Involvement of young people
• Women (sharing equal Baptism)
• Appropriate structures
• Church out of touch with reality of people’s lives and needs
• People are looking for a spiritual dimension (meditation/prayer groups)
• Need for Accountability
• Need for active dynamic church in local areas
Possible Solutions/Actions
• Form small groups in each parish or in homes with a focus on prayer
• Keep in touch with other groups by email and/or further meetings
• Tap in to the existing spirituality
• Eucharistic service to reflect the values of Jesus
• Encourage other groups; invite priests to join; keep in touch
Following the group discussions, Daithí summarised the feedback and reminded everyone to be positive, recognising that we have a voice. He encouraged all to review the Vatican II documents as a basis for discussion**.
The ACP website (www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie) is a good resource for information and news updates. Comments can be posted on it.
Next steps
There was general consensus that participants will now establish groups in their own parishes/areas; a further joint meeting will be held in Blarney on Sunday, 27th January 2013; and meanwhile, a summary of the day’s proceedings would be issued to all participants who had registered their contact details.
The meeting ended with a cup of tea and some very animated chat!
Faith in Action Group, Ballineaspaig Parish
*We stand before you, Holy spirit, conscious of our sinfulness,
but aware that we gather in your name.
Come to us, remain with us, and enlighten our hearts.
Give us light and strength to know your will, to make it our own,
and to live it in our lives.
Guide us by your wisdom, support us by your power,
for you are God, sharing the glory of Father and Son.
You desire justice for all: enable us to uphold the rights of others;
do not allow us to be misled by ignorance or corrupted by fear or favour.
Unite us to yourself in the bond of love and keep us faithful to all that is true.
As we gather in your name may we temper justice with love, so that all our decisions may be pleasing to you, and earn the reward promised to good and faithful servants.
You live and reign with the Father and the Son, one God, forever and ever. Amen
** A study of Vatican II will be held over 3 Mondays in February 2013 in Ennismore Retreat House, Cork.

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  1. Soline Humbert says:

    Individual Church members may also decide to study and add their names to the worldwide JUBILEE DECLARATION on the exercise of authority in the church,which is being sponsored by a large number of theologians and even some bishops! Mary Mc Aleese has just added her name to it.
    There is also a lot of information on the site which can be used for further reflection,sharing and discernment.

  2. William Clifford says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Just a word of caution about that Jubilee Declaration.
    I see that the organisation states that the Church’s teaching on contraception is wrong. (I see the same implied on this website). But isn’t openness to life an integral part of one’s wedding vows? If so, is it ever okay to put one’s vows aside? What if a couple is initially open to life but then decides that they no longer have to be open to life when they have sex? Would it not be like saying, “yes I have been faithful to my spouse but now I no longer need to be faithful in each any every sexual act”. You see where I am going with this.
    Did we not invite God into our relationship on our wedding day? But is God only invited into our relationship at certain times of our marriage, when He agrees to our terms?
    And of course there’s the whole idea of what is sex all about anyway? Can it be just for pleasure? What is the opposite of “to love”? “To hate?” It sure is. But another opposite of “to love” is “to use”.
    I also note that the Jubilee Declaration (on this topic) focusses on the use of condoms. What about the contraceptive pill? Is that okay? We know scientifically that the pill not only prevents conception but also prevents implantation of new life in the womb. In other words it causes abortions.
    Anyway, let’s use our discernment.
    Peace to all.

  3. Good luck to the people in Cork and all over with your endeavours to realise the Church.
    You, we can make a difference and it’s not about disobedience or attacking anyone or anything. It’s about realising our voice silenced by varied abuses. As someone warned not to speak of abuse for fear of hurting the Church – the Body of Christ, in speaking truth and revealing serious abuse, I am suggesting to each of you – that is what is being done. You are being abused, silenced, and can choose not to allow that. Hang in there. No one here wishes to see any human being suffer in any way. That is very apparent. Keep that foremost in your minds and hearts and I will certainly pray for all here I have encountered through the site. Wherever I end up.
    And to the priests: I have the greatest admiration and respect for each and ALL of you. I KNOW how difficult ‘service’ can be, is – believe me. Don’t you allow yourselves to be abused either. God bless.

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