Forum held in Cork church suggests similar groups in every parish
The Faith in Action Group, Ballineaspaig Parish, Dennehy’s Cross, Cork invited those living in Cork city and county who had registered to attend the ACP ‘Towards an Assembly’ regional meeting on 13 October to a Forum on Sunday, 25th November 2012. The purpose of the Forum was to address the structures, roles and needs of the Catholic Church at this time, and to discern how we can best move forward and progress the issues which confront us. Each participant was asked to come prepared to share what they see as the most important issues for them, and how they believe they might be addressed. Forty five people participated.
The Forum opened with a reading of the Gospel of the day (John 18: 33-37), followed by the prayer was said before every meeting of Vatican II. *
Daithí Ó hAodha, Chair, then briefly outlined the interests and activities of the Faith in Action Group, and the increasing concerns of the Group about the crisis facing the Church. Following on the Southern Assembly of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), discussion with other participants led to the question of “What Now”? Enquiries to the ACP and the Association of Catholics of Ireland (ACI) encouraged local action, and Fr. Kieran, our Parish Priest agreed to the use of the Crypt for a meeting.
Daithí explained that Fr. Tom Deenihan, Diocesan Secretary, had been invited to the meeting but that he was unable to attend.
The participants then formed seven groups of six or seven. Each group was asked to take 20 minutes to discuss their main issues and concerns, reporting back on their three priorities and some practical solutions to their achievement. These are summarised below:
• Need for a Gospel-based Church
• Need for Listening, Communication, Dialogue
• Empowerment of Laity
• Need for Faith Development
• Need for Vision and Leadership
• Need for mutual support
• Involvement of young people
• Women (sharing equal Baptism)
• Appropriate structures
• Church out of touch with reality of people’s lives and needs
• People are looking for a spiritual dimension (meditation/prayer groups)
• Need for Accountability
• Need for active dynamic church in local areas
• Form small groups in each parish or in homes with a focus on prayer
• Keep in touch with other groups by email and/or further meetings
• Tap in to the existing spirituality
• Eucharistic service to reflect the values of Jesus
• Encourage other groups; invite priests to join; keep in touch
Following the group discussions, Daithí summarised the feedback and reminded everyone to be positive, recognising that we have a voice. He encouraged all to review the Vatican II documents as a basis for discussion**.
The ACP website (www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie) is a good resource for information and news updates. Comments can be posted on it.
There was general consensus that participants will now establish groups in their own parishes/areas; a further joint meeting will be held in Blarney on Sunday, 27th January 2013; and meanwhile, a summary of the day’s proceedings would be issued to all participants who had registered their contact details.
The meeting ended with a cup of tea and some very animated chat!
Faith in Action Group, Ballineaspaig Parish
*We stand before you, Holy spirit, conscious of our sinfulness,
but aware that we gather in your name.
Come to us, remain with us, and enlighten our hearts.
Give us light and strength to know your will, to make it our own,
and to live it in our lives.
Guide us by your wisdom, support us by your power,
for you are God, sharing the glory of Father and Son.
You desire justice for all: enable us to uphold the rights of others;
do not allow us to be misled by ignorance or corrupted by fear or favour.
Unite us to yourself in the bond of love and keep us faithful to all that is true.
As we gather in your name may we temper justice with love, so that all our decisions may be pleasing to you, and earn the reward promised to good and faithful servants.
You live and reign with the Father and the Son, one God, forever and ever. Amen
** A study of Vatican II will be held over 3 Mondays in February 2013 in Ennismore Retreat House, Cork.