Archbishop Farrell – Moving forward with Building Hope in 2023
The inspiration for it was to try and develop a strategic plan for the entire Archdiocese there’s a different thinking in terms of the mission of the church now that everybody is involved in that mission from the very outset because of their baptism so what we’re trying to do is a strategic initiative to allow priests and people together to work out how they’re going to actually deliver that mission how they’re going to pass on the faith how they’re going to celebrate the sacraments it also has to cope inevitably with the declining number of priests we will not have the number of priests that we have now in five 10 or 15 year’s time but we also have parishes that are vibrant they’re alive so we’re trying to keep with Building Hope keep those parishes alive because people are very identified with their Parish they have a love for their Parish their church so it’s not about amalgamating parishes or it’s not about closing parishes but it’s about trying to cooperate and work in Partnership together to share the resources on our levels but the human level and the material resources well. I think in the past very often in parishes the investment was in the material side of the parish we built great churches we had houses, we had halls, we had community centres, but now we need to invest far more in people particularly I think we need to invest in educating lay people to be able to take up these Ministries, for example funeral Ministries.
I believe one Parish here and they have 300 funerals a year so if we found ourselves in that Parish they would one priest you can’t reduce the whole Priestly Ministry that can’t be reduced just to celebrating funerals and nothing else the church has to be missionary so how does one evangelize people today so we’re going to have to invest more in people like lay catechists, lectors, readers, people in funeral Ministry people in baptismal teams and create that sense of mission and evangelization and that’s where the effort I think is going to have to be today and where we’re going to have to plough far more resources than we did in the past and I suppose in some sense we didn’t have to do it in the past the number of people were there they just kept coming and we didn’t really think in those terms we weren’t a Missionary Church in Ireland and certainly when I was a young fella but that is vastly changed today and is very different and therefore we need to strategically rethink the mission and how we deploy our human resources and our material resources into the future. When you look at the summary of all the submissions that came back from around 112 or 114 countries Bishops conferences around the world there were great similarities you know the same things that we were concerned about other countries are concerned about the lack of Youth participation the lack of participation of laity particularly women in the whole organization of the church so all of that needs to be addressed and brought further so what we need to do now is some sense to deepen the synodal process and we use that in the building hope you know bringing people with us talking to people letting people have their voices they’re the people on the ground in our parishes and that synodal, if you like, methodology has to be very much part of the future of the church but we’ve asked parishes to do in 2023 is to initiate discussions with the other parishes in the Partnerships and see how they can actually assist each other and what synergies they can get what sharing of resources in terms of their Human Resources the parishes remain the same we’re not actually suppressing parishes or collapsing parishes so it’s about partnership it’s about working together and it’s about how we can do that in a in a strategic way given the resources that we have.
Archbishop Dermot Farrell
The Building Hope Prayer
Pilgrim God, we give you thanks and praise.
You constantly journey with us even in our darkness and doubts.
We seek your way of loving kindness to walk together as one family.
Open our eyes to recognise you in the faces of one another,
in the breaking of bread and in the splendour of creation.
May the risen Christ sow seeds of hope and new life deep within us.
May our hearts and minds be filled with your Word,
bringing forth truth, justice and peace.
May the Holy Spirit working in and through us do much more
than we can dare to imagine
as we live out our baptismal calling in humble and loving service.
We make this our prayer through Christ Our Lord.
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.
St Laurence O’Toole, pray for us.
St Kevin, pray for us.
St Brigid, pray for us.