Changes in the Parish Structures in the Diocese
In June Bishop Fintan called meetings of parish representatives and clergy to discuss the future of the parishes of the diocese. The meeting for the West Cork parishes was held in Rosscarbery on Sunday, June 12th. The meeting for representatives from the city and from the Kinsale area of the diocese, 41 parishes in all, took place in Cork on Sunday June 26th . Canon Murphy and two parishioners represented Ballyphehane
At the meeting, the current situation in the diocese was outlined. In 1996 there were 160 diocesan priests in appointments; in 2019, the year Bishop Fintan was appointed, there were 69, a fall of 56% in two decades. In June 2022 there were 89 priests in total in official appointments in the diocese including religious and missionary priests. The age profile of these 89 is as follows:
Over 75 years of age: 17 priests
This summer 11 priests are due to step down due to retirement or withdrawal by their order.
In this context to cater for the spiritual and pastoral needs of the people, the diocese of Cork and Ross is being divided into 16 families of parishes. Each family will consist of a number of parishes, ranging from a minimum of three to a maximum of six. Ballyphehane will belong to a family of three: The Lough, Togher and Ballyphehane. In future, priests will be appointed to families of parishes, rather than to specific ones, where they will work as a team; one of the team acting as a moderator, i.e. co-ordinator. Some parishes will have no resident priest; in the city those are Clogheen, Blackpool/The Glen and St. Patrick’s.
The next steps: In July the bishop will meet each priest to discuss his appointment. In September, the priest changes will take place. In Summer 2023 the new arrangements will be reviewed.
Addressing the meeting Bishop Fintan read the passage from St Luke’s Gospel where Jesus instructed Simon to “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch”. This is Jesus’ invitation to all of us – to become missionary disciples, working together with strong lay involvement in leadership and decision-making to build communities of faith in a welcoming Church.