Primate calls for new missionary movement

‘Join me in this humble renewal of our Church’

Michael Kelly and Cathal Barry

The new leader of the Church in Ireland has appealed to Catholics in parishes and communities across the island to work together to bring about a renewal of faith.

Archbishop Eamon Martin said that more actively-involved laypeople were key to putting fresh heart into the Church here.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic this week as he succeeded as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland, Archbishop Eamon said his hope was that Irish Catholics could re-find the spirit of mission that the Church in Ireland became renowned for. “A new missionary movement could emerge now in Ireland to help us re-evangelise,” he said.

“People have been asking me to put ‘fresh heart’ into the renewal of the Church in this country. But I am only one person with all my inadequacies and sinfulness. The task of bringing the encouragement of faith to the world belongs to all of us – people, priests, religious sisters and brothers, bishops – working together,” he said.

Archbishop Eamon said he was “certain that a humble renewal in the Church in Ireland would only come about as our laypeople exercised their specific vocation and mission to hand on the Faith and to insert the Gospel into the reality of their daily lives and work”.

Archbishop Eamon said he had been heartened by visiting parishes and communities around the country and experiencing faith with people. “I certainly see an ember of new hope for the future of the Church in Ireland.

“When I say ‘humble renewal’, I use the word ‘humble’ very deliberately as I am convinced that we need to become rooted again in our faith. There is a need to return again to the very roots of our faith and beliefs,” he said.

The archbishop made it clear that shared responsibility between priests and laypeople was a key priority for his leadership of the Church. “The idea of the laity finding their own specific mission is a priority for me. Here, I am talking about a renewal of charisms within the Church.

“In our parishes, in our dioceses, we need to actually tap into the charisms that so many of our lay faithful have.

“I feel God is calling all of us to stand up for our faith and I am part of that,” he said.