The Pastoral Plan came out of the Diocesan Synod held in 2016. The 6 pillars outlined below were informed by the Diocesan Listening Process and delegate voting.
In Baptism we are all welcomed into the Christian community and conferred in our dignity as children of God. As children loved by God and in whom God delights we are called to be disciples of God’s infinite love. The Synod invites us to reflect on what Community and Sense of Belonging says to us in our time and in our Diocese.
The Christian vision states that family life is sacred and its activities holy, and that the family can be described as the “domestic Church.” The family, ideally and potentially, is the school of human enrichment, where everyone is someone, where everyone belongs and has a place, where each is appreciated for the unique individual he or she is. It is also the school of Christian belief, where faith is caught, if not always explicitly taught.
By implementing the proposals accepted in the Synod we hope to ensure that young people feel connected, involved and active in a multigenerational church whereby grandparents, parents and children minister to each other. The overall thrust of the vote on the proposals at the Synod was to replicate at a local level the success of the youth ministry at diocesan level - to create local opportunities for young people to meet their peers in the Eaglais Óg.
There is an intimate link between life and liturgy. We must explore and advance the development of liturgical ministries in the diocese. The core thrust of the vote was towards enhancing the quality and experience of liturgy at a local level achieving ‘conscious, active and full’ participation. And here we saw that the emphasis was on liturgy that connects with the lives of ordinary people and that can be delivered by ordinary people. The development of local capacity for leadership in liturgy was a key enabler for this – both for liturgies led by clergy and by lay people.
In Ireland, a systematic or formal approach to faith formation has largely been the remit of Catholic schools and focussed on children/young people. While this is important, we also need to be mindful that faith formation is a lifelong process and that adult catechesis ‘is considered the chief form of catechesis.’ In our local context, we are exploring new models of leadership for a Church in a changing reality, where the lay faithful are being entrusted with particular tasks in their faith community.
We need to look at new models of leadership for two reasons. Firstly, because we are living in a very different world from the one most of us grew up in. We also need to look at new models because the concept of a leadership which depends almost exclusively on the priest cannot continue. That is what leadership, and not just the leadership of priests, should mean in the Christian community, discovering, recognising and fostering one another’s gifts.