Diocesan Pastoral Council

On Saturday 9th of October the new Diocesan Pastoral Council met in St Patrick’s College Armagh. Cardinal Brady and Bishop Clifford were joined by over seventy representatives, drawn from the lay faithful, the Senate of Priests, and the Religious of the diocese.It was a hugely significant occasion that marks the beginning of a new chapter in the pastoral care of the diocese. After a reflective time of prayer led by Dean Colm Curry, Cardinal Brady in his address referred to the sending out of the seventy-two by Our Lord in the gospel and he remarked that it was a similar sending out today. He said he was delighted to be presiding over such a significant event and he spoke of the hope that this gathering brought to him in his ministry.His remarks were endorsed by the main speaker for the morning, Fr Michael Drumm who spoke eloquently on the call of baptism that both calls us and empowers us for ministry.The day was expertly facilitated by Fr Andrew McNally, the new Administrator appointed to St Patrick’s, Dundalk and in the afternoon an overview of the new structures was presented by Dr. Tony Hanna, the Director of the Pastoral Plan.

http://www.armagharchdiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/meeting_armagh_diocesan_pastoral_council.pdf

The main work of the afternoon was to appoint two Diocesan Pastoral Council members to represent the Council on the eight Commissions that have been set up to help deliver the Pastoral Plan. After a series of ‘getting to know you encounters’ the following people were appointed to the Commissions for a period of two years.

The Council decided to postpone the election of a Chairperson until they had more time to get to know each other. They asked the Executive to appoint an interim Chair from their ranks until a proper election takes place.

There was an important discussion on the constitution and proposals for some amendments which will be debated at the next gathering which will take place in Dromantine, Newry on Sunday March 6th at 2pm closing at 6pm.

The feedback from the new group was very positive and included some of the following comments

o Encouragement of so many women present
o Energising experience, helpful insight into state of church, the body of the church
o A great step forward for the laity in the diocese
o Very energising – content excellent
o General sense of hope and nourishment
o Prayer as major part of the day X 4
o Good exchange of ideas
o Openness and engagement of all proved very effective
o Members having a voice X 2
o Great to see Cardinal and Bishop there X 3
o Liked opportunity to talk in small groups
o Inaugural meetings cannot be run to a strict timetable –w ell done today for work done
o I think the outcomes were quite positive – keep going with the current format
o Willingness of participants to volunteer for commissions and general enthusiasm
o Good representation from throughout the diocese
o The opportunity to share with others and to hear others share their faith with me X 2
o Well done, well presented

Some reservations were also expressed

o The efficiency of the meetings needs to be examined
o Handout/power-point presentation before start so that notes can be made alongside
o Poor sound quality
o More prayer, especially Eucharistic Adoration
o More information needed on role of Chairperson x 2
o We need more time to know one another – time for personal introduction
o I think that a presentation of the members should help all of us
o I think a better way needs to be found to facilitate discussions when the large group is together – difficult challenge!
o Encourage people to pray each day that we make the right decisions
o Hasten slowly so as not to lose enthusiastic, committed people
o Difficult to get clarity – people coming from so many walks of life
o Notification of the meetings to be sent a little sooner
o Have a more central venue