Minutes of meeting of North Wicklow branch of ACI
Tuesday 12th August 2014 In St Fergal’s
Thirteen people attended and seven other members sent apologies. As we all introduced ourselves it became clear that we were all here because we love our church and want to do all we can to help it because we don’t like what is happening to it at present.
Opening Spiritual Reflection
Following on a short reading and reflection on an Acts of the Apostles account of how the early Christian communities were united in the living presence of the Risen Jesus, we reflected together on the early stages of the Church and on the Church Reform and Renewal needed today. The spontaneous prayer which followed focused mainly on the call to listen carefully to what the Spirit is saying to us through other individuals and groups.
Information on ACI steps to Action taken from July Meeting
- In response to decisions taken at our July Meeting to open up dialogue with our bishops, we have asked our ACI leadership’s for an earlier meeting with the bishops than that already planned. We need to approach a bishop who will listen to our concerns. A letter has been sent to Archbishop Martin seeking a meeting with him, without detailed agenda but with focus on the upcoming Synod in Rome.
- Several members reported on their own and their family and friends’ concerns including frustration over lack of dissemination of information, and lack of two-way communication between church members and leadership. They also expressed their right as baptised to have voice in Church and the need to return to a simpler model of Church.
- In response to the decision to extend the group’s comment/information base to include young people and not so young who may be disaffected or otherwise from Church, we plan to make this the basis for agenda and action for a further meeting.
- We have yet to take steps on the further decision to address these questions to the teachers in their schools and invite them and/or their students to present some feedback on their perceptions to us .
Further discussion on what can ACI do to open up dialogue towards Church unity
- Listening and dialogue essential-not challenge but dialogue
- Priests fear being silenced. Bishops fear Vatican disapproval
- Church being divided by ideas seen as contrary to church teaching –all must be listened to and respected, including Church groups seeking change and those concerned at what they see as disrespect for and ignoring of Church teaching.
- Bishops smarting from past cover up of abuse and all priests tarred with same brush
- Great diversity among parishes about initiatives to deepen people’s faith
- Bishops should listen to Association of Catholic Priests –the recent letter from the Bishops responding to the ACP was poor.
- Voice of Laity involves obligation of laity to also listen
- Sometimes it is felt that priests don’t want lay involvement
- Future Action
- Prepare a clear idea of what should be discussed with the bishop
- Consider inviting local priest to hold a Eucharist celebration at a future meeting
- Commence email dialogue among our ACI Wicklow group by responding and initiating mails through the “Reply All” button
- Read and reply to ACIreland blog messages on www.acireland.ie
- Continue to reach out to those on boundaries to familiarise ourselves with their disaffection so as to develop a response
- Interface with young people who do great charitable work