A public meeting has been called by a priest in Co Wexford to discuss non-attendance at Mass by parents whose children are due to be confirmed this year.
Fr Patrick Banville, administrator at St Senan's parish in Enniscorthy, said he had "made it abundantly clear that for Confirmation families, participation in Sunday Eucharist is not optional, it's absolutely essential".
They have been absent for many years. Nothing new there, you might argue. Too true, unfortunately
The meeting is to take place at the parish community centre on Thursday evening next, February 15th, to discuss the matter.
In the parish newsletter Fr Banville said that since the beginning of the school year last September, “the majority of Confirmation parents and children have been absent from the Sunday Eucharist”.
He continued: “Indeed, they have been absent for many years. Nothing new there, you might argue. Too true, unfortunately.”
For the majority of Confirmation parents, Mass is not valued, is not a love-thing
However, this year “their absence is more significant because I’ve made it abundantly clear that for Confirmation families, participation in Sunday Eucharist is not optional, it’s absolutely essential, and I’ve introduced measures to support the necessity of participation in Sunday Mass. Unfortunately, whatever the reason, I have been largely ignored,” he said.
‘Struggle to participate’
Approximately, “and this is upwardly generous, no more than 10 Confirmation children/families have been attending Mass in St Senan’s church over the past number of months (years!). It seems the majority of parents have refused to enter the struggle to participate in Sunday Mass but they will still present their children for Confirmation in March,” he said.
This suggested “that for the majority of Confirmation parents, Mass is not valued, is not a love-thing, a matter of attraction and encounter, and this absence (or at least the refusal to enter the struggle to get to Mass as a family) suggests that Confirmation is without a context,” he said.
He was “quite concerned” about the matter and he felt it would be good to hear what the people of the parish think. “So I’m going to open this question(s) to the people, indeed, to anybody with an interest. What are your thoughts on the matter?” he wrote.
Fr Banville was unavailable for comment last night.