How the Diocese is structured

The Diocese of Limerick is made up of sixty parishes, as well as chaplaincies, religious orders, congregations, and school communities etc.  So it is a community of communities, unified by one Bishop.


The following is a description of how we currently organise and work together in this diocese.





  • The parish is the basic unit of the diocese.
  • Pastoral Areas are made up of a group of parishes.
  • Other diocesan services (Education, Chaplaincy etc); co-ordinate their ministry via the Diocesan Office.

You can see a map of parishes HERE and find contact details for parishes and priests HERE.


A practical booklet, entitled 'The Vision is for its appointed time', was produced at the start of this process for members of Pastoral Area teams. It was re-drafted in 2010 and in 2011, based on experience. The most recent version is available HERE for you to download.

Pastoral Areas:

The sixty parishes of the diocese are grouped into nine pastoral Areas. The Pastoral Areas provide an opportunity for parishes to work together in such a way that individual parishes are supported in their efforts to ensure that they will continue to exist as vibrant communities of faith into the future. Even though our experience of such inter-parish co-operation in the diocese has been mission-centred rather than utilitarian or pragmatic there is an awareness that the declining numbers of available clergy and religious lend a sense of urgency to this development.


Pastoral Area Team:

In each Pastoral Area there is a Pastoral Area Team which includes laity and clergy. This team is responsible for discerning and co-ordinating the gifts and strengths of the community in the service of communion and mission; it oversees pastoral activities and initiatives that take place on a Pastoral Area basis. This requires a strong ethos and strong support among the parishes of the cluster for active Parish Pastoral Councils, encouraging the provision of resources for adult religious education, formation of lay ministers etc, in conjunction with the Diocesan Pastoral Centre but also ensuring that the Area’s own resources in these areas are identified and encouraged and tapped.  The Pastoral Area Team seeks to encourage cooperation and meetings among the pastoral groups that are active in the parishes – liturgy groups, baptismal groups, prayer groups, bereavement groups etc. Some or all of these may be organised on the basis of the cluster or the Pastoral Area.


Pastoral Leaders:

Within each Pastoral Area Team a leadership role[1] is exercised by a Pastoral Leader and in some instances an Assistant Pastoral Leader. The Pastoral Leaders support the Pastoral Area Team in fulfilling its role as outlined above; they act on behalf of the Bishop exercising responsibility for certain aspects of the pastoral life of the Area. The effectiveness of the Pastoral leadership role relies heavily on the co-operation of the clergy within the area. They regularly meet together as a group and meet also with the Bishop as they exercise their role. The Pastoral Leader seeks to ensure that the priests of the vicariate meet regularly; he shows concern for the well-being of the clergy within his area, encouraging social interaction and mutual support; and particularly supporting those who are ill. Schedules are organised within the Pastoral Area that allow adequate cover to enable priests to have a day off each week and their annual holidays, as well as ensuring that there is cover in the case of sickness or of other reasons which necessitate being away (including absences at short notice such as bereavement or family illness).  This involves reviewing from time to time the Mass schedules.

The primary responsibility for encouraging ongoing formation among clergy and ensuring that clergy have adequate sabbatical, study, retreat and formation opportunities lies with the existing diocesan bodies (e.g. Ongoing Formation Committee, Pastoral Care of Clergy group); however, the Pastoral Leader has a role in linking clergy within the Area with these opportunities and working with the other priests around scheduling to ensure that it is possible for a priest to avail of such opportunities. Similarly, it remains the primary care of the Bishop of the Diocese to ensure the administration of the parish continues in the event of a priest being absent for a prolonged period because of illness or another cause and if he has not been able to make arrangements for the care of parish finances, registers, correspondence etc. The Pastoral Leader links with the appropriate diocesan authorities in this regard; similarly it is the responsibility of all the priests in the Area to work together to ensure that adequate cover can be provided in the event of a priest being absent. The diocese has people charged with the responsibility to ensure that churches and presbyteries are maintained in good condition and they liaise with the Pastoral leaders in fulfilling this role.

[1] The pastoral leader exercises his function with the canonical authority of a Vicar Forane.




  • Íde Naofa Area:
    Abbeyfeale; Athea; Tournafulla; Mountcollins; Templeglantine.
  • Pastoral Leader: Very Rev Denis Mullane

  • Our Lady's Area:
    Ardagh; Carrickerry; Newcastlewest; Monagea; Mahoonagh; Killeedy; Dromcollogher; Broadford; Feenagh; Kilmeedy.
  • Pastoral Leader: Very Rev Frank O'Dea

  • Knocpatrick Area:  (Estuary)
    Glin; Loughill; Ballyhahill; Askeaton; Ballysteen; Shanagolden; Robertstown; Foynes; Coolcappa; Kilcolman; Cappagh; Kilcornan; Kildimo; Pallaskenry.
  • Pastoral Leader: Very Rev John Donworth


  • Curraghchase Area:
    Rathkeale; Croagh; Kilfinny; Knockaderry; Cloncagh; Ballingarry; Granagh; Adare.
  • Pastoral Leader: Fr Liam Enright

  • Thomond Area: (North of the river)
    Cratloe; Parteen; Meelick; Coonagh; St Nicholas;
  • St Mary’s; St Munchin’s; Cor­pus Christi; Christ the King; Our Lady of the Rosary.
  • Pastoral Leader: Very Rev Donal McNamara

  • Pobal Nessain Area:
    Patrickswell; Ballybrown; Mungret; Raheen; Crecora; St Paul’s; St Joseph’s; Our Lady of Lourdes; St Saviour’s.
  • Pastoral Leader: Very Rev Fr Michael Cussen

  • Cathedral Area:
    St Patrick’s; St John's (Cathedral); Our Lady Help of Christian's; Monaleen; St. Michael’s; Donaghmore; Knockea; Holy Family; Our Lady Queen of Peace.
  • Pastoral Leader: Very Rev Noel Kirwan

  • Maigue Area:
    Fedamore; Manister; Croom; Banogue; Bruff; Meanus; Grange; Dromin; Athlacca.
  • Pastoral Leader: Very Rev John Daly

  • Pobal Mocheallóg Area:
    Ballyagran; Colmanswell; Rockhill; Bruree; Effin; Kilmallock; Bulgaden; Martinstown; Kilfinane; Ardpatrick; Glenroe; Ballyorgan.
  • Pastoral Leader: Very Rev Joe Shire



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