Limerick bishop says church of the future must be inclusive

Bishop Brendan Leahy says first synod in Ireland in 50 years is opportunity for regeneration

Bishop Brendan Leahy (left) photographed with Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Bishop Brendan Leahy (left) photographed with Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

The church of tomorrow must be inclusive and regenerated by us all, Limerick Bishop Brendan Leahy said as the first synod in Ireland in 50 years was launched.

In his homily at the midday Mass at St. John’s Cathedral, the Bishop of Limerick said there is now an opportunity to rebuild the Church and urged that it not be missed.

“It’s undeniable that our Church has been rocked. It has stumbled badly but it has not fallen. Yet, while the Church reeled, faith remained precious. The Church is in need of repair. It’s what the Lord told St. Francis in his time and tells us again now in our time.

“All of us together, clergy and lay, are being offered this opportunity to regenerate and build up the Church of the future in our diocese. Let’s not miss this appointment with history,” he added.

Ireland’s first diocesan synod in half a century will take place in the spring of 2016.

The synod will be a three day-meeting of 350 delegates that will set out a blueprint for the Diocese to meet the many challenges it faces going forward.

Between now and the synod itself, delegates will engage in a process of reflection and sharing, catechesis and prayer, out of which they will identify the issues that will be discussed at the synod.

Delegates, who are already selected, are drawn from clergy and laity, representing younger and older generations and all socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities.

In his homily to a packed Cathedral, Bishop Leahy said that the synod will be a time when we clearly commit ourselves again to do our part to come closer together at all levels of Church and indeed in society.

Bishop Leahy said that the synod would be the moment to draw up new plans for the Diocese so that it is ready for “what I believe can be a new dawn breaking for the Church, a dawn we will all greet together.”

Addressing delegates, he said, “There will be many paths to be made straight – paths of wounded hearts; paths of confused minds; paths of disappointed spirits, paths of rejected outreach. Through listening with your hearts full of mercy and patience, you can transform crooked pathways into opportunities to show something new is happening; Jesus is coming in a new way to heal wounds, bring light and clarity, sow seeds of hope and mercy.”