The Diocese of Meath is represented by 267,831 Catholics and overseen by Bishop Tom Deenihan who was appointed in June 2018.
The eight deaneries of the Diocese of Meath were asked to conduct four synodal conversations on the first four Tuesdays of Lent, and to celebrate a liturgy of thanksgiving on the fifth Tuesday of Lent. Facilitators were chosen from each deanery to assist in conducting the meetings and received training for that purpose.
Each meeting was open to all, but it was also considered helpful to invite certain “focus groups” to each meeting. The first meeting was centred around those involved in the liturgical life of the Parish meeting. The second involved in the administration of parish life. The third focussed on members of prayer and apostolic groups. The final meeting discussed school communities.
Over 1,600 people participated in synodal meetings. 276 completed questionnaires were returned by people who participated in a meeting in their deanery. 166 completed questionnaires were returned by people who had not participated in an organised meeting.
Stagnation of parishes and Church’s overall mission
Respondents in the Diocese of Meath voiced that their parishes were struggling and becoming stagnant as places of “communion, participation, and mission”. People called for a greater sense of communion, to be invited to participate more actively in the life of the parish, and for a more dynamic liturgical life that is faith-nourishing.
Desire to change leadership model of Church
There were calls for a renewal of the leadership model in the Church. The investment of authority in the ordained ministry is seen by contributors as preventing initiative and impeding the faithful in assuming their responsibility for the Church.
A Church receptive to those on the margins
The participants agreed that linked to the issue of leadership is a strong awareness of the lack of involvement of women, young people, and LGBTQ+ people in key areas of the life of the Church. This is experienced as exclusion by such people, and as contrary to the Gospel by those who love the Church.
Overcoming the lack of practice among young people
Parents and grandparents collectively voiced their concerns at the loss of faith among their children and grandchildren. The traditional cooperative faith-transmission model of parish-home-school is no longer working. Responses indicated a need for faith development at parish level, and a new evangelisation that offers the Christian vision of the human person, leading to interior conversion and intentional discipleship.
Poor attendance in Diocese for synodal meetings
The Diocese of Meath noted that the engagement by some parishes was disappointing (some participants noted that the synodal meetings were not advertised in their parish) and that they were also disappointed that there was an extremely small number of people who participated when taken in the context of the overall population of the Diocese.