As part of the consultation process preceding the appointment of a new Bishop, parishes were invited to submit their views. This report has now been made available.
As part of the consultation process preceding the appointment of a new Bishop for the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, parishes were invited to reflect on three questions. 19 parishes have returned responses to these questions. These responses have been collated and are now presented in one report.
Click on link to download the Summary Report of Parish Submissions
Appraisal of the Diocese
- Among the responses there is strong affirmation of initiatives and on-going programmes that exist in the diocese and that have been developed in recent years: Sacramental Preparation, Reach Out, Faith Development Services, Safeguarding Children, Meitheal, World Youth Gatherings, the diocesan website, pastoral councils where in existence, the Diocesan Choir, the existing resource of St. Patrick’s College & the John Paul II awards are all named in very positive terms.
- In the context of the size and varying demographics within the diocese, a significant number of references are made to a lack of diocesan identity. These references cited the need for greater connection with the Bishop and for more coherent and supportive structures of communication between the diocese and parishes. One parish suggested the need for two Bishops to help parishes to more actively & enthusiastically participate in the life of the diocese.
- An aging and diminishing number of clergy is a reality that is named within the appraisal of the diocese.
Needs of the Diocese
- To evangelise in order to engage with those connected to and separated from the Church and to facilitate faith development within the diocese. One parish suggested the need to review the administration of sacraments in the context of a growing focus on their social rather than spiritual role.
- To help young people connect with the church and to become involved in its activities, both spiritual and social, drawing on and linking with media, our secondary schools, as well as those trained in youth ministry in the diocese.
- To build connections among parishes and with the diocese and through networking to share resources, good practice and initiatives from around the diocese.
- To engage people in service of the church on an equal footing, challenging the existing structures when necessary and appropriate. Such engagement is seen in both a voluntary and employed capacity. Training and education for both voluntary and employed involvement is frequently named. The employment of lay people in parishes/parish clusters/deaneries is suggested in terms of both pastoral and administrative roles the latter very much in order to facilitate priests to be able to take up their spiritual roles without the distractions of administration.
- To support priests at both parish and diocesan level to be able to live out their priestly ministry in the context of their needs, limitations and pressures. This is coupled with the need for reviewing both their formation and on-going formation.
- To build in on-going reviews of safe guarding children procedures across the diocese.
- To provide a once off assembly for the people of the diocese and an on-going forum for pastoral councils and for young people.
- To consult with people ahead of any changes to parish structures in light of the declining numbers of priests.
Qualities we would like to see in our Bishop
- Within the responses there is strong consensus on the need for someone who is grounded in parish experience rather than academia, who is from within the diocese itself, who is youthful and who can engage with young people in particular as well as all members of the faith community. One parish makes the suggestion of a ten year term of office.
- Parishes would like to see a spiritual and learned person of vision and leadership who is in touch with the people, who is approachable and open to dialogue and suggestions.
- A desire to engage directly with parishes locally, to visit them and be available to them.
- A good communicator/listener/ speaker to the people of the diocese with a good media presence. One who is broadminded and forward thinking and who has the courage to publicly speak the truth in areas of faith and morality.
- Someone who will inspire priests and people to bring the message of Jesus to all people and to bring hope and healing to our communities and families.
- A leader who is not afraid to challenge processes and policies within the Church which are not in keeping with the Gospel.
- He should be a man of humility, forgiveness, wisdom and compassion, be kind-hearted, able to resolve conflict, caring and loving, a man of prayer.
- A willingness and capacity to develop collaborative ministry in all parishes, where men and women, lay and cleric, use their gifts to build up the church and their community.