Fifteen volunteer catechists were commissioned for service in the Diocese of Elphin, by Bishop Kevin Doran, at Mass in Sligo Cathedral yesterday, Sunday 27thSeptember.
Known as “Partners in the Gospel”, the Catechists are lay parishioners from all walks of life and from parishes all over the Diocese, who have completed an intensive four year formation programme, including academic studies in Theology and Catechetics at St Angela’s College NUIG.
Speaking at the Mass of Commissioning, Bishop Doran explained that the mission of the Partners in the Gospel will be to provide opportunities for adult learning at parish level, which will help the whole parish community to grow into a deeper lived relationship with Jesus Christ and to become, in the words of Pope Francis, “missionary disciples”. There will be two teams of catechists, corresponding to the two regions of the Diocese.
Bishop Doran commended the new catechists for their courage in taking on this very important mission and thanked them for the generosity of their commitment which involved many hours of study over a four year period and long journeys to get to their to lectures even in the depth of winter. He reminded them that they are called to be “Partners” and invited them to work closely with the priests and deacons, with their fellow parishioners and with the religious sisters who are active in the life of many of the parishes.
The Bishop said: “none of what we celebrate today would be possible without the generous support and encouragement of the family members and friends of our new Partners. I want to say a particular word of thanks to Bishop Michael Duignan, who is with us today and who was so instrumental in laying the foundations for the programme and guiding it for the first three years, before he moved to Clonfert. The good work which he began has been brought to completion by Father Michael Drumm, who will continue to coordinate the Partners in the Gospel as they carry out their mission around the Diocese. In a year which has, in many ways been difficult and disappointing, this is a hugely significant day for our Diocese” he said; “Under other circumstances the Cathedral would have been full to overflowing and there would have been a big celebration, but I ask all of you, including those joining us online to continue in your prayers for the new catechists that the Holy Spirit will guide and direct them in their mission and open the ears and hearts of those whom they serve”.
Bishop Doran acknowledged the generous support of the Albert Gubay Foundation in providing funding for the Partners in the Gospel Programme.
- Bishop Kevin Doran is Bishop of the Diocese of Elphin.
- Bishop Michael Duignan is Bishop of the Diocese of Clonfert.
- The phrase “Partners in the Gospel” is taken from the words of St. Paul in the Letter to the Philippians, where says: I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Ch 1:3-6)
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