Parish pastoral councils are “building the Church of the future”, Bishop Brendan Leahy told a recent meeting of over 300 members of pastoral councils from across the Diocese of Limerick.
Bishop Leahy held the meeting to mark the conclusion of the Year of
Faith but also because he said he believed “the development of pastoral
councils is a significant step in the direction of the future”.
He said he appreciated that members of pastoral councils “might feel
frustration at times” – “not everything is clear; not everything is
working as it might be; at times we are unsure what direction we are
going in” – but he encouraged them to “keep going, keep up your efforts
because, even through the struggles and disappointments at times” they
are “building the Church of the future”.
The new Bishop of Limerick acknowledged that within a short few
years, “priests will find themselves parish priests of several parishes”
and “there will not be resident priests in every parish”, but he said
this does not mean the Christian community will not be alive in that
“Wherever two or three are gathered in the name of Jesus, he is
there among them. And this is what we are learning in our coming
together. We are learning together how to be a Christian community with
Jesus among us in each local area and gathering,” he said.
Bishop Leahy encouraged pastoral councils to read the Gospel together
when they meet and “put it into practice together, especially reaching
out to any ‘outskirts’ we find around us”.
He told the meeting it might
not be easy but it was “worth trying” and “certainly is what the Holy
Spirit seems to be pushing us to do at this time”.