Decisions have to be made on parish structures says Bishop Cullinan

Decisions have to be made on parish structures says Bishop Cullinan Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan.

Decisions “have to be made” on the future structure of parish life, Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan has said, as his diocese mulls alternating Mass venues, changing schedules and closing churches.

In a letter to parishioners, the bishop of Waterford and Lismore warned that “we cannot avoid change” in parish identity, as there is a “lot more mobility of people nowadays”.

“With the decline in the number of priests and priests’ age and state of health, the current Mass schedule cannot be sustained,” he said.

Dr Cullinan invited parishes to consider seven proposals regarding the arrangement of Masses: alternate Mass venues, six months in one church, six in the other; rotating churches each weekend; reducing the number of weekly Masses; organising hub and satellite churches; closing a church; changing Mass times. He finished by raising the issue of a priest being sick or on holiday.

Responding to the letter, Fr Ned Hasset told parishioners that Abbeyside parish’s pastoral council felt the bishops’ focus was “a bit narrow” by focusing on the decline in clergy.

“The council recommended that we broaden the scope of the consultation and see the crisis as an opportunity to encourage and promote great lay participation in ministry and leadership in parishes,” he said.