Pastor's Desk: Feast of All Saints

Posted 31st October 2009 in Pastor's Desk

Feast of All Saints
Welcome everyone to our Masses on the first Sunday of November. This year, the Solemnity of All Saints falls on a Sunday and takes precedence over the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time, so our Readings are from the Solemnity. Personally, I think this is a beautiful celebration because it celebrates all those who have gone before us who have lived heroic and virtuous lives in the eyes of the Lord. They may not have a Feast Day in their honour; the Church never carried out an investigation of them and declared them a saint; but the reality is they are saints and God has rewarded them accordingly.

While we remember all those saints down through history who have lived according to the values of the Gospel, it is natural that we bring to mind the people who we ourselves came into contact with in our lifetime who inspired us with the way they lived out their faith. We think of our parents, grandparents, extended family or friends and neighbours. These are the ordinary people who will never go through the Canonisation process but it doesn’t diminish the fact that they lived saintly lives. Today is their feast day and we celebrate them and ask their intercession in our lives.

All Souls’ Day
Monday is the 2nd November and each year we commemorate the Faithful Departed. At our Masses on Monday we will have the returned Altar Lists of the Dead from parishioners and place them on the Altar as we pray for those who have gone before us in the Faith. “It is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they might be loosed from their sins”, it says in 2 Maccabees 12:46. We continue that tradition which dates back to the Old Testament as we remember our dead and those who no longer have anyone to pray for them. The Masses on the First Friday of each month will also be offered for those whose names appear on the Altar List of the Dead.

Parish Group Meeting
You will recall that the Parish Pastoral Councils of our Group of Parishes met last week in Portmarnock Pastoral Centre with Monsignor John Fitzpatrick, our Area Episcopal Vicar. It was a very interesting meeting and the first time the PPCs met one another. James Hehir from Kinsealy PPC has prepared a report for their newsletter and has shared it with each parish. I have published it here also as it gives a good summary of the meeting and what lies ahead.

Have a great week
Fr. Eoin

The Parish Group and its Future Role

The Parish Group
In a recent Newsletter I informed you that we were in the Kinsealy, Portmarnock, Donaghmede and Ayrfield parish group. Our membership of this group is acknowledged at the end of each Newsletter. I also told you that I would keep you informed of developments. In the meantime we have held meetings to discuss matters of mutual interest and getting to know each other. The initiatives taken to date include the day of reflection and training for Ministers of the Eucharist and Word outlined in this and previous bulletins.

The Clergy Crisis and its Implications for our Parish
At a recent meeting of our Parish Group, Monsignor Fitzpatrick outlined the critical situation regarding the future availability of priests in our diocese. The following figures summarise the situation:

Number of parishes in the diocese: 200
Number of priests holding appointments: 298
Percentage of serving priests over 75 years of age: 7%
Percentage of serving priests over 65 years of age: 35%
Percentage of serving priests under 50 years of age: 23%

It is obvious from these figures that the number of priests serving in our parishes will decline rapidly each year from now on. Serving priests could be down to one third of the current level in about 10 years.

Potential Role for the Parish Group
While no final decisions have been made on how we will operate with reducing numbers of priests, it is likely that we will follow the French model where each group of parishes has a team of serving priests. Daily and Sunday masses are rotated between the parishes in the group. Monsignor Fitzpatrick was confident that the parish structure will remain, maintained by volunteers. If there are no volunteers for a particular parish it will die. A total of 18 Saturday evening / Sunday Masses are celebrated in our Group of Parishes. This level of service cannot continue.

Jim Hehir, Kinsealy PPC.


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