24 lay people have been commissioned to serve in the Diocese of Killaloe in the Ministries of Pastoral Care, and Catechetics/Faith Development. The commissioning took place on 13 April in the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, Ennis, Co Clare, at the annual Mass of the Chrism, an occasion that traditionally celebrates the renewal of commitment by the priests of the diocese. At the Mass, Bishop Fintan Monahan formally commissioned the new ministers – women and men – who will minister in parishes and pastoral areas right across the Killaloe diocese.
Bishop Monahan said, “I wish to thank everyone who has come forward to volunteer and train to become Ministers of Pastoral Care, and Ministers of Catechetics/Faith Development. Your generosity and gifts are a rich blessing to the body of Christ. These new ministries are part of a diocesan response to the changing face of the Church in recent times, and this includes fewer priests. Whereas once there was at least one priest in every parish, now many parishes have no resident priest, rather they are served by the priests of the local pastoral area. In the future, in our diocese, parishes will be served by a team of priests and lay ministers working together to meet local pastoral needs. Some roles traditionally undertaken by priests will in future be carried out by the new lay ministers.”
Bishop Monahan continued, “In developing the new ministries, the diocese identified the need for Pastoral Care and for Faith Development as crucial. It is envisaged that the new Pastoral Care Ministers will take on roles such as visiting sick or elderly people at home, in a nursing home or in hospital setting, having a concern for those who are isolated or on their own in the community, supporting people and families at the time of a funeral and bereavement as well as offering sensitive care at other critical times on life’s journey.”
In 2018, the Diocese of Killaloe launched this initiative and advertised for volunteers for two new ministries of Pastoral Care and Catechetics/Faith Development. There was a very positive response to this initiative. As a result the 24 people commissioned have undertaken a process of training and formation including a specially developed academic programme of theology and pastoral studies at the Institute of Pastoral Studies in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. The new ministers have also received training in skills necessary for ministry and have been involved in placements in their respective roles of pastoral care and faith development.
It is envisaged that those commissioned as Catechists will take on roles in faith development, for example, engaging with and accompanying parents whose children are preparing for sacraments, supporting programmes such as Faith Friends, Do This in Memory or You Shall Be My Witnesses, and supporting people who wish to explore their own faith of spirituality.
Bishop Fintan Monahan is Bishop of Killaloe. The diocese consists of 58 parishes and includes parts of the counties of Clare, Tipperary, Offaly, Limerick and Laois.