Pope Francis sends his blessing to Kilmore Diocesan Assembly

24 Oct 2014

 Pope Francis sends his blessing to Kilmore Diocesan Assembly

Pope Francis has sent a message to those attending this weekend’s Assembly in the Diocese of Kilmore.  The message was relayed to Bishop Leo O’Reilly through the office of the Apostolic Nuncio.

Pope Francis prays that, “by walking together in this Assembly, the participants will encounter the truth and source of hope for their lives, Jesus Christ, and, filled with joy and gratitude, will share this gift by collaborating in building the kingdom, illuminating even the fringes of our world by their profession of faith and leading to ‘fruitfulness in the work of evangelisation’. (Evangelii Gaudium, 11)”.  He concludes by “commending all who gather at the Kilmore Diocesan Assembly to the intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God and imparting his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord Jesus.”

The Assembly, the third in the diocese since 2000, takes place in Saint Patrick’s College, Cavan, on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 October next and marks the culmination of two years of planning and consultation. It is expected that over 300 delegates will attend, including representatives from each of the 35 parishes in the diocese, priests and permanent deacons, religious, pastoral assistants, and representatives of church-based organisations operating in Kilmore.  Representatives from some of the other Christian faiths in the diocese will attend the opening session.

The theme of this year’s Assembly is taken from three words Pope Francis used during his first homily as Pope: “Walking Together, Building the Kingdom, Professing our Faith.”  Over the course of the two days, delegates will discuss a number of issues including:

  • The findings of a diocese-wide listening survey
  • Current patterns of sacramental practice
  • Effective ways of ministering to young people
  • Proposals for future directions for the diocese in the light of the decreasing and aging number of clergy.

There will be a number of small group and open forum discussions during the Assembly in order to hear the views of the parish delegates and other participants on how to address key pastoral challenges facing the Church in Kilmore.  The Assembly will seek to offer broad directions for the diocese, which the Diocesan Pastoral Council will develop into a more detailed pastoral strategy for the next five years.

Commenting on the opening of the Assembly, Bishop O’Reilly said,“In the planning for this Assembly, the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Steering Committee were conscious of the importance of hearing the views of people in the parishes, and particularly those on the margins of the Church. There was a serious effort made to reach out to those who would not normally come to Church. The feedback from those listening sessions in the parishes gives us the context in which people live out their lives in our society today and the context in which we must try to preach and live out the message of Jesus.

“The goal of our discussions and reflection will be to discern what the pressing issues for the Church in Kilmore are at present and how we will go about engaging with those issues in the years ahead.

“Previous assemblies in the Diocese held in 2000 and 2007 produced proposals and plans that have had a real impact on our parishes. We now take for granted a level of lay involvement in parish that would not have been imagined in the past. We have a range of initiatives ranging from adult faith formation courses to pre-sacramental programmes to pastoral area planning, youth programmes and so on, that all had their seeds in the assemblies of those years.

“It is within our power to bring about important changes in many areas which affect the life and worship of our parishes.  I believe we need to look again at our celebration of the most important sacrament of all – the Sunday Eucharist. If the Eucharist is, as the Second Vatican Council told us, the source and summit of the Christian life, we have a duty to ensure that, as far as possible, people experience it as that.”

In addition to Bishop O’Reilly, the guest speakers at this weekend’s Assembly include

  • Fr Michael Router P.P. V.F., Bailieboro who will speak on the outcomes of the Listening Survey in the Diocese
  • Fr Michael Drumm from the Diocese of Elphin and Executive Chairperson of the Irish Catholic Schools Partnership Trust who will discuss ‘Sacramental Practice and Modern Culture’.
  • Matthew McFadden from Clogher don Óige in Monaghan who will share his experience of ‘Reaching Out to Youth’
  • Fr Enda Murphy, Diocesan Director of Pastoral Services and Youth Ministry, who will outline ideas on ‘The Future Direction of our Diocese’
  • Breda O’Brien, Mother of Four, Second-Level Teacher and Columnist with The Irish Catholic and the Irish Times

Bishop Leo O’Reilly will be the principal celebrant and homilist at a special concelebrated Assembly Mass in the Cathedral of Saints Patrick and Felim, Cavan, on Sunday morning at 11:30a.m.


Notes to the Editor

  • An Assembly is a meeting of clergy, religious and laity from all around the diocese.  It is a consultative group, which discusses issues of importance for the diocese and makes recommendations about future directions.
  • The Diocese of Kilmore straddles the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and includes almost all of County Cavan, and parts of Counties Leitrim, Fermanagh, Meath and Sligo. It comprises of 35 parishes with 95 churches and a Catholic population of approximately 70,000 served by around 60 priests in active ministry.  Each parish has a pastoral council, a finance committee, a recruitment committee and a safeguarding children representative.
  • There are currently nine pastoral areas in the Diocese which provide an opportunity for parishes to work together in such a way that individual parishes are supported in their efforts to ensure that they will continue to exist as vibrant communities of faith into the future.  Each Pastoral Area is headed by a Pastoral Area Leader.
  • There are currently four congregations of religious sisters and one congregation of male religious in the diocese.
  • This is the third such Assembly in the Diocese of Kilmore with previous ones held in 2000 and 2007 – each of which produced a pastoral plan for the Diocese.
  • Some of the outcomes from previous Diocesan Assemblies include:
  • The establishment of a Diocesan Pastoral Centre
  • The development of a pastoral plan following each Assembly
  • The establishment of pastoral councils in each parish
  • The initial formation of parish clusters which led to the eventual formation of nine pastoral areas in the diocese
  • The employment of pastoral assistants in some of the pastoral areas
  • Bishop Leo O’Reilly was ordained Co-adjutor Bishop of Kilmore on 2 February 1997 and subsequently installed as Bishop of Kilmore on 15 November 1998.
  • Media Contact Persons:

o   Fr Donal Kilduff, Diocesan Communications Director, Bishop’s House, Cavan – 049 4331496 (Office Hours)

o   Fr Enda Murphy, Diocesan Director of Pastoral Services & Youth Ministry, Kilmore Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Cullies, Cavan – 049 4375004 (extension 103) or 086 3843373

o   Seán Coll, Director of the Kilmore Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Cullies, Cavan – 049 4375004 (extension 102) or 087 6724338