Parish Pastoral Councils are the future – Bishop Leahy

Parish pastoral councils are “building the Church of the future”

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 parish. “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”.