Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala, will today launch the ‘Placing Hope in Faith’ Listening Process for the upcoming Killala Diocesan Assembly, the first of its kind for the diocese. The objective of the Listening Process is to gather insights from across the 22 parishes of the diocese so as to inform Church planning for the future.
The launch will take place today, 31 January, at 8.00pm at the Newman Institute in Ballina, Co Mayo. During February and March members of the steering committee will visit all 22 parishes of the diocese, meeting interested groups and individuals, to facilitate as full and as comprehensive a listening process as possible. When the information is assimilated proposals will be framed in advance of a diocesan assembly to be held in June.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Bishop Fleming said, ‘the late poet John O’Donoghue said, “In modern Ireland, you’ll find the most searching and penetrating analysis of what is going on, and what we need to do, not among the priests or religious or theologians but among the people. So, we need to ask the people what they think and what’s going on”. These are important words in the context of our Listening Process here in the Diocese of Killala. It is our plan that, during the months of February and March, an extensive listening process will take place in all of our parishes.
‘This is an inclusive initiative and I invite everyone to take part: the young and not so young, those who participate in Mass each weekend, those who attend occasionally and those who may no longer walk with the Church for whatever reason. In particular I am anxious to hear the voice of young people in this process.’
He continued, ‘I wish to emphasise the importance of the listening aspect of this process, so that we really can hear what is being said. In what we are doing I am guided by the recent words of Pope Francis, “Communicating means sharing, and sharing demands listening and acceptance. Listening is much more than simply hearing. Hearing is about receiving information, while listening is about communication, and calls for closeness. Listening allows us to get things right, and not simply to be passive onlookers, users or consumers. Listening also means being able to share questions and doubts, to journey side by side, to banish all claims to absolute power and to put our abilities and gifts at the service of the common good.”’
Bishop Fleming said, ‘It is my hope that the Diocesan Assembly will meet in full session at the end of June, when the proposals which will emerge from this Listening Process will be put to its 300 delegates, who represent every aspect of Church life in the diocese, in order that they can be voted on. These proposals, when accepted, will then become diocesan policy and form the basis of our Pastoral Plan for the Diocese.’
For more information on the upcoming Diocesan Assembly, see www.killaladiocese.org.