From Bishop Fintan Monahan 18th February 2023
I hope you are keeping very well.
As you are aware, the Diocese has started a process of reflection, prayer, discernment and conversation, a synodal process, to enable us to make informed decisions about the future structures of the Diocese. The process began with two meetings, one at each side of the Diocese, with two presentations suggesting ways forward. While there were differences in approach between the two presentations, there was also much similarity in naming the issues to be addressed but different approaches to the way forward. The hope is that these presentations might stimulate our own thinking right across the diocese so that we can discern a way forward wisely and with as much creativity as possible. What is clear is that we must respond to the dramatic change that is happening in our Church while we still have the energy to do something positive to respond.
Below are links to the two presentations on the Diocesan Website. These links enable anyone who wishes to listen to the two speakers. The transcripts of the talks are also provided so that those who prefer to do so can read both presentations.
As announced previously, 15 follow up meetings will be held across the diocese, in each Pastoral Area beginning on Monday 27th February and ending on Thursday 30th of March. It is vital that the date for each Pastoral Area meeting is publicised locally so that people are informed. Anyone who is interested in the future of the Church in our Diocese may attend these meetings. It is also very important that those who come to the meetings are made aware of the conversations that is already happening and encouraged as far as possible, to inform themselves. I therefore urge that the links to the talks and the transcripts be made available on parish websites and social media platforms and that notices about them be included in parish newsletters up to the scheduled date for meeting in each Pastoral Area. I also suggest to the Chairpersons of Pastoral Councils that the links to the talks be circulated to Parish Pastoral Council Members (and members of other parish groups who may wish to attend the meetings). It is important that PPCs take time at their meetings to consider what is being said and how what is proposed would impact on their parishes/pastoral areas.
It is vital too that we communicate to people about what is happening. I ask that priests and Pastoral Councils do all in their power to inform people about the process and what is to be discussed at these meeting and the different kind of models that are being proposed as a way forward. This can be done by speaking about it at Sunday Masses or putting information in Parish Newsletters and again encouraging as many people as possible to read the texts of the presentations to date or listen in to them on the website.
As you know, the conversations we will have in the coming weeks are critical to the future of our Diocese. I ask that you include it in prayer at meetings and at parish liturgies especially during Lent.