• In attendance       Cardinal Seán Brady, Bishop Gerard Clifford, priests of the Archdiocese of Armagh, members of the new Parish Area Resource Teams and members of the new Diocesan Council for the Archdiocese of Armagh
  • Venue                   St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
  • Date                      Tuesday 8 June 2010
  • Time                     7.30pm – 9.00pm.  Refreshments will be served after the ceremony in the Synod Hall

The ceremony will begin with a reflection on the newly created diocesan aim:

As a diocese, we aim to be the body of Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit so that we can live like Jesus in our time and place sharing his compassionate love with all.

Looking forward to the launch, Cardinal Seán Brady referred to his speech of 3 November 2008 saying “The Archdiocese of Armagh is a communion of faith communities, which are committed to each other. As we embark on this process of renewing our structures we will rely on this spirituality of communion among all of us to strengthen our parishes as vibrant faith communities in this 21st century.”

Cardinal Brady continued “The emergence of these new realities for the diocese is the fruit of many years planning and hard work and it has involved huge consultation with all of the faithful. The new structures bear testimony to the resilience of the Church and to the commitment of the faithful as they look for new ways to continue the work of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit in our time and place.

“Much of this work has taken place against the background of huge turmoil and strife within the Church as it confronts the painful repercussions of the recent scandals. The involvement of hundreds of people – mostly lay – in these new diocesan structures is a wonderful sign of hope and encouragement at this time.  May God bless our work.”

•    Background to the launch

A celebration for the people of the diocese
At Masses throughout the diocese on the last weekend of May the people of the diocese were invited to join this diocesan celebration on 8 June next.  Many people throughout the diocese – especially young people – have contributed to the formation of the diocesan aim which emphasises the importance of living like Jesus in our time and place.  Prayer cards highlighting the diocesan aim will be available for distribution to people throughout the diocese.

Eight Commissions of the new Diocesan Pastoral Council
In the second part of the ceremony, Cardinal Brady will launch the constitution of the new Diocesan Pastoral Council.   The new Council will have representatives from the newly formed pastoral areas in the diocese as well as representatives of the religious and the various Church-based organisations in the diocese.  A new element to the Diocesan Pastoral Council is the eight commissions that will be at the forefront of the ministry of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.  The eight commissions:
•         Liturgy
•         Faith formation and training
•         Mission and ecumenism
•         Justice, peace and development
•         Youth
•         Care for priests
•         Christian vocation
•         Prayer and spirituality

Each of the commissions, while having its own particular focus, will bring a family perspective and a concern for safeguarding children to their work.

Eighteen new Pastoral Area Resource Teams for the diocese
The highlight of the ceremony will be the commissioning of the eighteen new pastoral area resource teams.  The resource teams are made up of five people from each of the parishes in the pastoral areas.  The pastoral area resource team will be guided and led by the Vicar Forane so as to help to strengthen each of the parishes in two ways:
i.         By ensuring the effective sharing of the collective gifts and talents of the parishes in the pastoral area; and,
ii.        By identifying pastoral matters that together can be more effectively undertaken as a pastoral area rather than separately as individual parishes.

Notes for Editors

•    Special celebratory image for the launch is available from Catholic Communications Office 00353 01 505 3013
•    The formation of the new Diocesan Pastoral Council marks the closing of the previous Diocesan Pastoral Council established by the late Cardinal Cahal Daly
and which held its final gathering in September 2009.  It also brings to a close the Co-ordinating Group of the Pastoral Plan which will hold its last meeting on
24 June 2010.
•    The web-link below connects to the address by Cardinal Brady on 3 November 2008 at the launch of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese of
Armagh entitled Strengthening Parishes in the 21st Century.  The objective of the plan is to sustain parishes as vibrant faith communities into the future.
The launch was supported by a Pastoral Letter detailing this initiative and the faithful were invited to contribute to the process and were regularly consulted concerning its development: http://www.archdioceseofarmagh.org/cardinal/statements-and-addresses/50-2008/601-3-november-strengthening-parishes-in-the-21st-century-press-launch-in-the-synod-hall-armagh-address-by-cardinal-brady

•   Members of the diocesan council consist of the following: Archbishop of Armagh (President), Auxiliary Bishop, the Vicars General, Chairman of the Senate of Priests, Chairpersons of the Diocesan Pastoral Council Commissions, Directors of the Office of Pastoral Renewal and Family Ministry, Chairperson of the Diocesan Pastoral Council as elected by the Council, Youth Director, Child Safeguarding Director, 2 members from each pastoral area nominated by the pastoral area resource teams, 2 priests nominated by the Senate of Priests, 3 full time pastoral workers nominated from their own cohort, 6 religious nominated from within their own members, 6 members nominated by the Youth Commission, 2 members nominated by the New Ecclesial Movements, 10 representatives drawn from active diocesan groups as nominated by the Archbishop and Diocesan Secretary

Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications 00353 (0) 86 172 7678
Fr Andrew McNally, Co-director of the Pastoral Plan, Archdiocese of Armagh 00 353 42 933 6649
Dr Tony Hanna, Co-director of the Pastoral Plan, Archdiocese of Armagh 00353 (0) 87 6155619