Parish Pastoral Workers left in limbo over their future

Parish Pastoral Workers left in limbo over their future

Dublin’s Parish Pastoral Workers (PPWs) are among the 82 lay staff asked by Dublin Diocese to consider a voluntary redundancy package which has been described by some PPWs this paper spoke to as ‘generous’.

However, the main concern of PPWs appears to be what does the future hold for those who don’t take the redundancy package.

What kind of diocese are they coming back to and what kind of Church are they staying for is one of the key concerns.

“What is the Church we are staying for – is it a Church focused on lay ministry, is it a church that’s focused on outreach, on mission, on supporting those most vulnerable, or is it a church that’s focused on only sacramentals?” said one PPW who asked not to be identified.

“Is that the focus going forward, there’s no guarantees, no reassurances, of the future of the Church…that the future of the Church is not just a clerical one. That’s where the uncertainty lies. If you’re staying, what are you staying for or are there any reassurances going forward.”

One lay member of staff in the Archdiocese told this paper that the PPWs should not have been included in the redundancy scheme because they are needed in the parishes.

“If pastoral workers are the first to go, there are no vocations, so who is left? Elderly priests cocooning during lockdown, they can’t fill the gap, neither can the younger men who are already stretched and now taking pay decreases.”