On 12 July 2009 the new pastoral areas of the Armagh diocese came into effect. This formation of the pastoral areas is the outcome of huge consultation and reflection by all of the Catholic faithful within the archdiocese. It is the end result of a very detailed and comprehensive engagement that began in 2006 with consultations with all of the priests the pastoral councils and parishes within the diocese. In a letter to the people of the diocese in July 2009, Cardinal Brady said:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;
The mapping of the newly formed pastoral areas of the diocese has arisen out of a tremendous amount of participation, discussion, considering, questioning, listening, challenging compromising and deliberating. It has truly been a diocesan exercise that included the engagement of people young and old, priests, religious and bishops. I am personally delighted that, as a diocese, we spent the time and energy grappling with questions about the make up of the pastoral areas.
A pastoral area is a cluster of neighbouring parishes that support each other and share the collaborative gifts and talents of each parish. With the help of the Holy Spirit, they do this in order to fulfill the mission of the Church to proclaim the word of God and further the mission of Christ in the world.
Each pastoral area has a priest leader who, in keeping with Church law, is called a Vicar forane (VF). The eighteen vicars were appointed following a poll of all the priests of the diocese in which they were asked to say who they thought should be the priest leader in each of the pastoral areas. In other words, the eighteen were chosen by their peers. They are:
|Area||Vicar Forane (VF)||Area||Vicar Forane (VF)|
|A – St John’s||Fr Martin McArdle||J – Killeavy||Fr Lawrence Boyle|
|B – An Cioral||Fr Gerard Tremer||K – St Brigid’s||Fr John Heagney|
|C – The Martyrs||Fr David Moore||L – Peninsula||Fr Brian MacRaois|
|D – Cardinal MacRory||Fr Michael O’Dwyer||M – Dún Dealgan||Fr Mark O’Hagan|
|E – St Colman’s||Fr Seán McCartan||N – Our Lady, Queen of Peace||Fr Sean McArdle SM|
|F – Tir Ui Neill|
|G – St. John Paul II||Fr Oliver Brennan||P – St Cillian’s||Canon Peter Murphy|
|H – St Patrick’s||Fr Eamonn McCamley||Q – St Colmcille’s||Vacant|
|I – Cardinal Ó Fiaich||Fr Malachy Murphy||R – St Oliver’s||Canon Eugene Sweeney|
The Vicar foranes will be supported in their leadership by lay leaders who will share the leadership responsibilities with them.
The work of each of the pastoral areas is coordinated by a pastoral area resource team. The pastoral area resource team consists of five people from each of the parishes in the pastoral area. Under the leadership of the Vicar forane the pastoral area resource team helps to strengthen each of the parishes in the pastoral areas by:
- Ensuring the effective sharing of the collective gifts and talents of the parishes in the pastoral area
- Identifying pastoral matters that can be done better together as a pastoral area than separately as individual parishes.
In February and March 2012 there was a series of engagements with parishes and pastoral areas to consult with parishioners on the next steps to be taken in the pastoral plan for the Archdiocese. To read the the report on this consultation click here.
There will be a follow up meeting with all Pastoral Area Resource Teams in late May and the next steps will be agreed with them.
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev Cathal Deveney, PP
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev Patrick Hannigan, PP
Cardinal Ó Fiaich
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev Liam McKinney, PP, VF
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev Patrick Rushe, PP, VF
Our Lady, Queen of Peace
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev Gerard Campbell, PP, EV
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev Malachy Conlon, PP, EV, VF
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev Canon Benedict Fee, PP, EV, VF
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev John Gates, PP
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev Eamonn McCamley
St. John Paul II
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev Canon Eugene Sweeney, PP, VF, VG
Vicar forane (VF): Very Rev Gerard McAleer, PP (on leave)