The meeting opened with a Moment of Silence for listening to Spirit deep within us at this crisis period in Church, with Synod on Family in progress. This was followed by a short prayer.
Outline of Meeting Agenda
• Planning of ACI Wicklow Eucharistic Celebration
• Report on ACI meeting with Archbishop Martin
• Faith Formation through Family then and now
It was agreed we would see if it is possible to hold a Eucharistic Celebration in the Portacabin, as part of a future meeting.
Suggestions included choosing our own readings, and sharing reflections on the Word of God.
Some concern was expressed about centring the Mass on Passion, Death, sacrifice exclusively – forgetting that celebration of Eucharist initially centred on thanksgiving in communion of table fellowship with awareness of the presence of the Risen Jesus in our midst. A joyful well celebrated Eucharist, with communal reflection and response to the Word of God and scripture and life based hymns interpreting each stage of the celebration would attract families and provide a prime source of Family Faith formation.
Another suggestion was for the homily & discussion after Communion.
We would need to clarify what it is we are seeking in an ACI Eucharistic celebration with the celebrant in advance.
Teresa will prepare a draft form of the celebration for further discussion and decision in advance.
ACI Delegates Meeting with Archbishop Martin
Four delegates – Patricia Higgins, Eimear Hegarty, Teresa Mee and John Kelly – representing ACI Central, Dublin and North Wicklow groups met Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on 2nd October.
Delegates expressed appreciation of Archbishop Martin making time to see us on eve of Synod. We had come with a carefully prepared agenda, perhaps slightly different to what the Archbishop had in mind. The meeting started with his outlining of a Synod, and specifically the 2014/2014 Synod process, stages and its composition.
Issues raised in relation to Synod on Family
- Why the Survey was distributed in few of the Dublin Diocesan parishes. Archbishop Martin said it had in fact been sent to every parish in the Archdiocese and had also been posted on the Archdiocese website.
- The Church language of the Survey made it difficult to understand in terms of current experience of family. The point was discussed.
- Composition of Synod on Family: Minimal parent participation with voice, and even then without vote. Participation with voice and vote confined to all-male clergy, all women excluded. Archbishop Martin responded with reference to the extent to which bishops meet both parents and women and youth especially on public occasions such as Diocesan Pilgrimages and celebration of Confirmation.
- He also spoke of his conviction about the importance of family involvement in ministry and his hope to further this. We said we are looking to supplementary and alternative approaches to Faith Formation through Family.
A separate report on the meeting accompanies these minutes.
Faith formation through Family then, and now
In addition to what came up in our discussions on Eucharist and on ACI meeting with Archbishop Martin, other aspects of Faith formation through family were discussed .
- The problem, as yet little under discussion of Sunday celebration without a priest, is already a reality in a number of parishes. In some places, we were told, a priest arrives only once a month or every 6 weeks. On a positive note it was noted that the Bishop of Limerick has announced a Diocesan Synod for 2016. It was felt this should happen in other dioceses and include this issue of Sunday celebration to enable us as Church to prepare a way forward. The focus up to now has tended to be on ‘what is not allowed’ rather than preparing parish leadership for meaningful Sunday celebration.
- Are we happy with the way we celebrate the Eucharist in Ireland now?
- We’re moving away from the parish as only centre. Could we think of Church also as Communities of common interest in addition to geographical structure?
- Members reported large attendance at 9.30 Sunday Mass in Greystones due to time convenience, good celebration, good homily and music.
Our next meeting is planned for Wednesday 12th November 7.30pm in Portacabin at St Fergal’s.
Again, my admiration for all involved in these local ACI meetings. I would agree that a Eucharistic celebration be exactly that, a celebration. Just think of the many images of the Crucified Christ that confront us everywhere. It’s no wonder some of us have dour, gloomy faces when we’re supposed to be a joyous people, a people of light, life and laughter. I think Jesus came to bring us joy and to remind us that we are meant to be happy, not miserable, people of faith. Thank you, Lord! 🙂