Ireland: appeal to the laity” “

“An invitation not to remain anchored to our past history” was made by Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam (Ireland), in the course of the traditional annual pilgrimage of the diocese to Mount Croagh Patrick on 26 July. Addressing the faithful present, the archbishop described a situation that is common to many dioceses: “the population is declining and with it the number of vocations. In many parishes there are no longer any resident parish priests; seminarians are growing less and less, and many convents and Catholic educational centres are closing. For years our parishes were looked after by priests and lay volunteers. There was a priest at the altar; another in the confessional; still others at the bedside of the sick or in front of a bride and bridegroom to bless the rings. Today the situation is very different”. “Why – asked the archbishop – are the young no longer attracted by religious life? Have they perhaps been seduced by Ireland’s prosperity today? As the Church we are called to face these challenges with generosity and willingness”. “The renewal of the Irish Church – he said – does not depend just on us bishops and priests, but also on the commitment of laypeople in all the parishes”.

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