Association of Catholics in Ireland Formally Launched.
The Association of Catholics in Ireland [ACI], a new group for Irish Catholics committed to reform and renewal in the Church, was formally launched to-day in the Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley. The simple launch ceremony included the reading of messages of support from reform groups in the United Kingdom and the USA, as well as from the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland and from many supporters from around the country who could not be in attendance.
Speaking during the introduction to the programme for the day, Patricia Higgins, a member of the ACI Steering Group, referred to the association’s commitment to “the pursuit of reform and renewal and the desire for a compassionate and inclusive church at a critical point in the history of the church in Ireland. A point in time when fewer and fewer people are attending church on a regular basis and when many catholics feel marginalised and excluded”.
The theme of the day – ’The Role of the Laity in Shaping the Future of our Church’ – was discussed in a series of facilitated workshops with the objective of informing an ‘Action Plan’ for the ACI in the coming years.
Later, another member of the Steering Group, Noel McCann, emphasised the fact that the ACI is “a reform organisation for the members, with a ‘bottom up’ philosophy, where policy will be decided by the members and not handed down from ‘on high’ by a committee based in Dublin. He went on to appeal to those in attendance, and to supporters around the country, “to explore the range of options to become involved via the website (www.acireland.ie). He stressed that a key action would be to organise and establish ACI groups in local parishes and regions to promote the ACI Objectives”.
Following the meeting a newly constituted ACI Steering Group will take on the task of leading the reform group in the coming year which will prove challenging but exciting for the association given the encouraging signs of a possible change in approach in the Vatican following the election of Pope Francis.
[End of Statement]
For further information please contact Noel McCann (087 927 4379) or Patricia Higgins (087 639 4231).
Photo: Association of Catholics in Ireland steering group member Jacqueline Nelson (right) and Soline Humbert light candles at the association’s launch in a Dublin hotel on Saturday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill