Parish pastoral councils to play key role in Catholic Diocese of Raphoe

It is expected that parish pastoral councils will be playing a greater role in the future affairs of the Catholic Diocese of Raphoe, which covers most of County Donegal.

It’s part of a new two year pastoral plan for the diocese launched by Bishop Alan McGuckian which, he said, will involve a serious review of the whole diocese on how best to proceed into the future

A small group of priests, religious and lay faithful under the chairmanship of Father Michael McKeever have been working on this plan for the Diocese of Raphoe throughout the pandemic.

Bishop McGuckian has now recommended the plan to the diocese, believing it will foster a spirit of cooperation between priests and people in the parishes and across the diocese.

Bishop McGuckian said a key element will be well-formed parish pastoral councils.

For that reason a priority in this first year will be the training and formation – or the renewal – of effective parish pastoral councils in as many parishes as possible.

He also said the plan proposes a renewal of faith formation, with an emphasis on children and young adults.

He added that decline in the number of priests is a big concern for many people as they worry about the effects of this on their own parishes.

The bishop said people will have to face into the realities as they find them, adding that it was important that people are open to change and that people know that they are key to the process.

The formation of Parish Pastoral Councils, and other councils, will be central to this.

Bishop McGuckian concluded by saying plans are not made to sit on shelves and, with that in mind, there is already a date in the diary for the parishes of the western deanery to come together and begin working towards the formation of new parish pastoral councils.