In the spring of 2018 the ACI Steering group circulated ACI members with a short list of five questions – to explore the extent of lay involvement in the life of Irish Catholic parishes. This was, in effect, an exploratory pilot study (EPS) of this key issue at a time of transition in Irish church life.
We asked about:
- ‘Prayers of the Faithful’ (by whom these were selected and read);
- If lay-led prayer services ever happened on weekdays – with Holy Communion – in the absence of a priest to celebrate Mass;
- If the parish had a Pastoral Council preparing the parish for greater lay responsibility;
- What might be happening re adult faith development;
- If a need for family catechesis was ever mentioned by parish clergy.
A preliminary non-expert overview of these findings suggested a widely varying situation, and a worrying overall picture of ‘lay involvement’ – so the ACI steering group commissioned an expert examination of the results. A full report on this is now available:
Overall this confirms our initial response that the situation calls for an all-Ireland survey of lay involvement, and of the causes of the alienation of so many in younger generations from traditional sacramental practice of the faith.