23RD NOVEMBER 2006
BISHOP WILLIAM LEE LAUNCHES
FIVE-YEAR PASTORAL PLAN FOR THE
DIOCESE OF WATERFORD AND LISMORE
“The Pastoral Plan is neither a beginning or an end, but rather part
of an ongoing process of renewal in the diocese” – Bishop Lee
The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Dr William Lee launched a five-year pastoral
plan for the parishes of the Waterford and Lismore diocese in the Hotel Minella,
Clonmel, earlier this evening.
Over four hundred and fifty people attended the launch including clergy and lay
delegates from each of the 45 parishes in the diocese, together with representatives
from communities of religious based in the diocese. Delegates from each diocesan
agency and committee were in attendance as were representatives from various
voluntary bodies and organisations active in the diocese.
In his address, Bishop Lee said: “The Pastoral Plan is neither a beginning nor an
end, but rather part of an ongoing process of renewal in the diocese. If we do not
look ahead and plan ahead then we content ourselves with being a Church which reacts,
a Church which responds to crises as they arise and which allows others to set the
agenda for us. If this happens, the news will inevitably be bad news and the Good
News will get sidelined. We have good news to share but we must read the signs of
the times, listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, and then plan how we
are going to share that Good News now and in the future. Having planned, we must
then act; we must put out into the deep”.
The pastoral plan (which is a 28 page document) is the fruit of an extended process
of dialogue, listening and consultation with the priests and people of the parishes.
This listening, the Bishop noted, was the most important element in shaping the plan.
Bishop Lee said: “The listening process showed us the huge amount of goodwill and
energy and the great richness of ideas and talents that make up each parish and the
diocese as a whole. In the listening process we saw the whole Body of Christ working
together and that was so encouraging. It represents a vision of Church which is
participatory, inclusive, respectful and collaborative.”
A number of objectives are to be addressed in the diocese over the coming years.
These include: collaborative leadership structures in each parish; revitalising the
experience of Sunday liturgy; creating an experience of belonging; reaching out to
young people; nourishing the spirituality of adults; responding effectively to those
Throughout the pastoral plan, the vision is one of building a Christian community
where the good news of the gospel is tangible, where people feel welcome, and where
liturgy connects with the real lives of people.
Bishop Lee went on to highlight the pastoral needs generated by the rapid cultural
change experienced by our society today.
Bishop Lee said: “Even though good progress in relation to the economy has resulted
in greater prosperity for many, there continues to be a hunger in the hearts of people
for the spiritual to give a sense of purpose to their lives.
“As the drive for more material wealth takes over in peoples’ lives, there is a drop
in societies’ awareness of our responsibility to the poor. It is a society in which
reward is required for almost anything that is done.
“We are a multi-cultural society. Foreign nationals have come to live in almost
every parish in the diocese. The diversity of cultures introduced into parish
life by the influx of immigrants needs to be welcomed.”
Bishop Lee continued: “We live in a very busy world. Even though we have more time
saving devices now than ever before, people have much less time for the important
things in life such as marriage and family relationships and keeping in contact
with the Lord.
“Western civilisation – and we see this in our own country – is breaking down in
that violence of different kinds is at an unprecedented level.
“The parish is one of the few places where every person can hear the call to
constantly look at their priorities. The parish needs to be a community that
provides hope for people in the midst of all these changes and difficulties.”
Bishop Lee concluded his address by thanking all those who were involved in
working on the Diocesan Pastoral Plan and those who contributed to it in any
The implementation of the plan will be a blend of local initiative and diocesan
resourcing. There will be a diocesan committee driving the implementation of the
plan. New resources will be put in place, including the provision of some
professional lay pastoral workers at diocesan level. The process will lead to
the establishment of a Diocesan Pastoral Council.
23 November 2006
NOTES TO EDITORS:
– A photograph of Bishop Lee is available on request from the Catholic
– The Diocese of Waterford and Lismore includes County Waterford, the greater
part of South Tipperary and a small part of County Cork. The Diocese of Waterford
and Lismore has 45 parishes; a Catholic population of 136,029; 85 Catholic churches
and the patrons of the diocese are St Otteran, St Carthage and St Declan.
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)
Fr Liam Power Diocese of Waterford and Lismore (087 2899843)