Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly who initiated the Listening Process in Cashel and Emly.
Already trends are emerging from the faithful as to their thoughts on the Catholic Church at the present time.
The Archdiocesan Listening Process in Cashel and Emly which was initiated by Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly is moving towards completion with the second half to get underway in the coming weeks.
Half of the Archdiocese has undergone the process already and much of the information coming from the parishes is being coded and collated for analysis, and will eventually feed into an overall Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese - a plan which will be drawn up collaboratively by the Diocesan Pastoral Council (a group of lay people and priests representing parishes around the diocese), the Council of Priests and the Archbishop.
The process, which has worked so successfully in the Archdiocese so far and which has thrown up very many interesting viewpoints, begins with groups of people from each parish in the different deanery areas, attend a meeting to prepare for the Listening Gathering in their own parishes. They then return to their own parishes where a much wider group of the faithful are asked to give their views on the Church, present and future, through the Listening Process. This information is then gathered and collated to help devise the Pastoral Plan.
“We have learned much in delivering this initiative from the first half of this process and we are now moving towards the second half of the Archdiocese. This whole process began as an initiative of Archbishop Kieran because he wanted to get a sense of where we were as a people and as a diocese. It is the first of its kind in Cashel and Emly and has been guided in its methodology by the listening that has taken place in a number of other dioceses around the country,” said Fr Martin Hayes who is heading up Listening Process in cooperation with the lay personnel of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
It is envisaged that the Listening Process will awaken amongst the laity, a realisation of the need for people to take ownership of their own parish and to get involved in a ‘co-responsible’ way with their priests. With the shortage of priests there is real opportunity for the laity to become more involved, in very meaningful ways, to ensure the future of the faith in their parishes and to pave the way for future generations to carry on the torch of faith.
Rev Fr Martin Hayes.
A meeting will be held in Littleton on Tuesday October 2nd and will focus on the parishes of Cashel, Boherlahan, Holycross, Clonoulty, Golden, Knockavilla, New-Inn - the parish representatives will then return to their parishes to conduct the Listening Process using a specially prepared questionnaire and discussions which will be coordinated by members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. The parishioners of Moycarkey have already participated in the pilot Listening Process and its Pastoral Group are currently taking stock of the feedback received while engaging with some new ideas that have emerged.
A meeting has already taken place in The Millennium Centre, Caherconlish for the surrounding parishes of east Limerick and north Tipperary while on October 16th a meeting in the Fr Tirry Community Centre, Fethard will involve Fethard, Clerihan, Ballingarry, Drangan, Mullinahone, Gortnahoe and Killenaule parishes.
“The key to this is that everybody who wants to have a say, can have a say. That's what this is all about and we need to find out what people on the ground want; where they see their Church going; and how we are going to get there in co-operation with everyone. It is a very detailed process and there is challenging work involved, but we are getting there and clear trends are emerging already,” Fr Hayes said.