Donations to Trócaire increase by 7 per cent to €25m

Catholic bishops decide to undertake major initiative to promote vocations next year

Donations to Trócaire, the Catholic bishops’ overseas development agency, rose by seven per cent to €25 million in the year to April 2016.

This included its annual Lenten campaign. The Catholic bishops have acknowledged “with gratitude the generosity of the lay faithful, priests and religious for their support of the work of Trócaire”.

The bishops have also decided to undertake a major national initiative in 2017 to promote vocations.

Vocations was a major item at the bishops' summer meeting in Maynooth last week when they announced that there is to be consultation at diocesan level on how best to create a culture of vocations in the Irish Church.

They also announced that their first ad limina visit in the papacy of Pope Francis will take place in January of next year. Such visits involve a country's bishops "reporting" to the Pope and the curia in Rome.

They happen, on average, every five years, but the last such visit by Ireland's bishops was 10 years ago, in 2006, when Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI held the position.

However, following publication of the Ryan and Murphy reports in 2009, all the Irish bishops visited Rome in February 2010 where they met Benedict and members of the curia.

It has also been announced that Fr Tim Bartlett will be secretary general for the August 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin.

A priest of Down and Connor diocese, Fr Bartlett is director of public and social affairs there and secretary to the Northern Catholic Bishops. His World Meeting of Families office will be at Clonliffe College in Dublin.

Fr Bartlett previously worked closely with then Catholic primate Cardinal Seán Brady and had been centrally involved in setting up the Church’s child protection watchdog, its National Board for Safeguarding Children, in 2006.