The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has ordered training to begin immediately to prepare volunteers in parishes to support families in preparation for Baptism, Confession, First Communion and Confirmation.
The aim is to shift the archdiocese gradually away from school-reliant sacramental preparation – to tackle a range of issues associated with that – including especially the now-typical departure of teenagers from sacramental practice soon after Confirmation and the absence of many of their parents also.
The priests’ council of the archdiocese has passed the following resolutions:
“That the diocese implement an approach to the sacraments of Baptism, First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation that pivots on supporting parents in sharing faith with their children.
“That the parish assumes responsibility for the preparation and celebration of all four of these sacraments.”
This shift toward developing parental and parish responsibility for sacramental preparation was foreshadowed for all Irish dioceses in the National Catechetical Directory launched by the Irish bishops in 2011 – ‘Share the Good News’. Archbishop Martin is known to be frustrated by the delay in implementing that ten-year programme. In April he was seriously critical of the Irish Bishops Conference over this – telling the Irish Times:
“We produced this National Catechetical directory – Sharing the Good News – where is it? It was assigned to a working group of different Commissions of the Bishops’ Conference and it never really took off.”
The Irish Times also reports that this pending shifting of responsibility onto parishes and parents followed wide consultation:
“About 1,800 people – parents, parishioners, clergy, schoolteachers and principals – responded to an online survey.”
To read the complete Dublin archdiocesan press release on this important shift, click here.