Lay-led services are going to be the future of the Church in Ireland given “declining numbers of clergy” across the island, an Irish priest has said.
Speaking in relation to the controversy surrounding the Eucharistic service led by Minister Josepha Madigan at Dublin’s Mount Merrion, Limerick priest Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon said “it is encouraging that lay people feel confident and competent to assume their baptismal right to ministry” when a priest is unavailable. These practices should be encouraged regardless of whether a priest is available, he added.
“Perhaps, years ago people would simply go home if a priest didn’t arrive, believing that no-one among them had the right to lead the public prayer – thankfully this situation has changed and we now have many examples of people leading public prayer,” Fr Fitzgibbon said. “However, it is still not sufficiently common practice and this was highlighted recently by the misunderstanding that what happened in Dublin constituted someone from the congregation saying Mass,” added the priest, who is director of the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Mary Immaculate College. He said that such confusion arises because the practice of lay people leading public prayer “is not yet something we are accustomed to” – however, it will no doubt become “increasingly common”.
For full analysis by Colm Fitzpatrick, read: https://www.irishcatholic.com/lay-people-cant-be-laid-back/