Archbishop asks Dublin parishes to reflect on what it means to be Christian
Martin says aim is to ‘set out a realistic agenda for renewal’ of Catholic Church
Pope Francis bids farewell to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin as he prepares to leave after his visit to Ireland. Photograph: WMOF2018/Maxwell Photography via Getty Images
Every Catholic parish in Dublin has been asked to set time aside in November to reflect on what it really means to be Christian.
In his first public comment since Pope Francis left Dublin on August 26th last, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin made the proposal.
“I would like to invite every parish in the diocese of Dublin to find concrete ways of reflecting on this challenge, perhaps in the weeks around the Feast of St Laurence O’Toole, principal patron of the diocese, on the 14th November.
“It is not a question of a political style consultation, but a call to each believer and faith community radically to interiorise what the challenge of faith in Jesus entails,” he said.
Each parish and parish community “can find its own path of reflection, with the help of the parish pastoral council. The aim is not to provide instant answers but at least to begin to set out a realistic agenda for renewal of the Church in the years to come,” he said.
Message of Jesus
Speaking in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral Archbishop Martin said that for him “the questions that should be addressed are the deeper questions about faith in Jesus Christ. Why are we no longer captivating so many of our young people for the message of Jesus Christ?
“Which models of pastoral activity and reflection are most likely to win the hearts of young people for the message of Jesus? How do we teach young people about prayer? How can our parishes respond to these challenges?
“Which aspects of our dominant culture make it harder for people to understand the message of Jesus? I am thinking, for example, about a widespread individualism that invades everything from personal life to our economic vision,” he said.
He recalled how “over the past few weeks, I have repeatedly asked believers to reflect on a troublesome harshness which pervaded Irish Catholicism in the past and which was witnessed especially in many schools and institutions for children and vulnerable women.
“Every occasion on which this happened was a betrayal of the call to witness to loving kindness of our God. It must never happen again,” he said.
The future of the Catholic Church in Ireland “remains very much the responsibility of the entire Church community in Ireland. Now we must be asking ourselves: where should we be going in the years to come?,” he said.
On the visit by Pope Francis he said he wished “publicly to express my gratitude to all those who helped prepare that visit. I thank those who were responsible for the great events in Croke Park and in the Phoenix Park as well as in Knock. I thank President Higgins, the Taoiseach, the public authorities, the media and of course our great volunteers.
“I thank especially the people of Dublin who thronged the streets in welcoming Pope Francis as he journeyed across our city. I was really pleased that Pope Francis made that short stop at the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes and at his visit to the Capuchin Food Centre. These visits meant so much.”