Two members of the Irish Bishops Conference have responded to the urgent approaches made by ACI’s Steering Group in 2019.
Here, directly below, is the text of a letter from the Episcopal Secretary to the the Irish Bishops Conference, Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly of Cashel and Emly.
Further below will be found a letter from Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, Bishop pf Waterford and Lismore, with whom we had met, along with Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry, on October 1st 2019, at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.
Mr Anthony Neville
Association of Catholics in Ireland
Dear Mr Neville.
Thank you for your letter of 15 September 2020 and enclosed documents.
As you may be aware, Pope Francis has declared that the theme of the next Synod of Bishops. to be held in Rome in October 2022, will be ‘For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission’. In his homily at the episcopal ordination of Bishop Martin Hayes in Cavan on the 20 September 2020. Archbishop Eamon Martin stated that the Irish bishops “are committed to a ground-up synodal process for new evangelisation and for revitalising the Church in Ireland”.
At the plenary meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference, held by videoconference on 6-7 October 2020, your correspondence was circulated to all the bishops. During the meeting the bishops held a wide-ranging discussion on a synodal process in the Church in Ireland, and the views in your documents were noted. I thank you and your colleagues for this contribution.
I assure you that your submission of October 2019 will form part of the documentation as we continue to discern the future of our church in Ireland.
With very good wish and blessing,
Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly
Archbishop of Cashel and Emly
Episcopal Secretary of the Irish Episcopal Conference
28th October 2020
Mr. Anthony Neville,
Dear Mr. Neville,
I hope this letter finds you well. Your letter to Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly, which you circulated to others, I received last month. Please excuse my delay in getting back to
I do indeed remember meeting yourself and your colleagues last year and we did bring your concerns to the Bishops conference after our meeting. I am sorry that you
did not receive any feedback by way of letter from the secretary. I have spoken with Archbishop Kieran about your concerns and I know that he is putting them into the
body of material which we will discuss at our next conference.
Regarding your six points at the end of your letter, which are excellent, I wish to point out the following:
- We are working on a strategy here on how to maintain church mission under Covid.
- We have not had diocesan assemblies since the listening process before our pastoral plan was published in the summer of 2019.
- Regarding parish pastoral councils: This is an issue of concern continually. As you know some parish councils work well, many do not.
- Regarding Diocesan Pastoral Council: We have one which functions regularly. Right now, under Covid we have had several meetings by Zoom.
- We are engaging with Divine Renovation, something about which you may be aware. We are engaging with Divine Renovation in leadership coaching for mission. We will have two teams, one for youth (under 18) the other for adults.
- Technology training: This is an ongoing issue as well. We are trying very slowly to get priests to embrace Zoom and we do have a fledgling communication committee, but have a lot of work to do yet
Thank you for your letter. It is indeed helpful.
With every good wish.
Most Reverend Alphonsus Cullinan,
Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.