Meeting supports ‘umbrella organisation’ for laity
At a meeting attended by approximately 170 people in All Hallows College on Wednesday 30th May 2012 there was unanimous support for the establishment of an ‘umbrella organisation’ to represent members of the laity interested in supporting a Reform and Renewal’ agenda in our Church. The attendees, who represented many Dublin parishes as well as a number of dioceses across the country, included members of existing lay organisations, members of the religious and ‘non aligned’ individuals. The group could be described (in the main) as loyal, committed but disillusioned ‘church going’ catholics. Many described their current roles in supporting their local church or their work in promoting the ‘Christian Message’ through involvement in various parish organisations. The meeting was remarkable for the level of reason and maturity which characterised the discussion. The overwhelming, recurring sentiment was one expressing real concern for the future of our Church. Some expressed dismay at the failure of the Hierarchy to engage with the laity, particularly a laity willing to work, in cooperation with the church authorities, towards renewal in our Church. There was palpable sadness in the comments of some parents in attendance who recounted stories of their children losing the faith as a consequence of recent developments in the Irish Church. The sadness all the greater because of the lack of hope or a coherent plan on the part of the church authorities to seriously address this hemorrhage of, what should be, the next generation of catholic parents.
A representative ‘steering group’ was mandated by the meeting to work on a policy framework for the ‘umbrella organisation’ and this group was requested to report back to another general meeting in September 2012.
The ‘umbrella organisation’ initiative was also strongly supported by scores of messages of support from members of the laity and members of the religious who were unable to be present at the meeting.
The ‘organising group’ would like to sincerely thank all who attended the meeting and those who sent messages of support from all over the country,as well as from the UK, Europe and the USA. Last night was a small but very significant step on the road to the establishment in Ireland (for the first time) of a single ‘umbrella organisation’ to coordinate and lead the laity in pursuit of their rightful place as baptised members of our Church.