Bishop Dermot Farrell of Ossory has issued a pastoral letter to the faithful of the diocese, entitled: Our Living Church. The letter outlines the changes that will occur in the diocese from 1 December 2019 and to effective pastoral ministry into the future. Ossory has 67 priests across 42 parishes, consisting of most of County Kilkenny and portions of Counties Laois and Offaly. The Catholic population of the Diocese of Ossory 84,818.
In his letter, Bishop Farrell said, “In our parishes many conversations have been taking place as, together, we discern the promptings of the Spirit for our time. These conversations, as you may know, have led to the establishment of 13 pastoral areas, gathering our parishes into groups that can support each other and share resources. These pastoral areas are just now beginning to work together and explore what is possible. These groupings will permit our individual parishes to become stronger, more alive, and be in a position to offer an even greater level of service in their communities.”
He continued, “Beginning on the First Sunday of Advent – 1 December next – there will be changes in the number of Masses in our parishes. These changes reflect the changing character of our parishes and communities: not only the effect of fewer clergy, but also the need for greater collaboration between parishes. I hope that, in time, this will also allow our liturgies to improve. Every liturgy, every Mass, is a time to hear the Lord, and to welcome Him. Simple changes such as allowing more time between Masses will permit and encourage, improved celebration, and better participation of everyone who comes to Church.”
In conclusion, the Bishop said, “This is an exciting time in our Diocese – new shoots are emerging, new supports are being given, and new structures are developing. It is ordinary, and yet always extraordinary, to see our community – all of its members – discussing, responding, growing, and continuing today what the Lord began with the Apostles long ago.” The Patron of the Diocese of Ossory is Saint Kieran.