Jul 21, 2015

Limerick Diocese clerical changes announced Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Bishop Leahy says faithful will rise to their pastoral ministry role in response to fall-off in vocations

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has predicted that the deepening involvement of laity in response to the fall off in priestly vocations will serve to bring the Church closer together.

Speaking as he announced a small number of clerical changes across the diocese, Bishop Leahy said that the faithful is responding to its calling to play a greater role in pastoral ministry by showing a clear intent and desire to enhance its role in the Church.


Bishop Leahy also said that the build up to next year’s Limerick Diocesan Synod, but particularly the Synod itself, will be an opportunity to create a pathway for the enhanced involvement of laity in ministry.  However, he also urged people who have a vocational calling to submit to same and consider the priesthood. “The number of clerical changes is relatively few this year because we are in the build up to the Synod.  The Synod is going to be an opportunity for us to assess where we are in terms of our ability to respond to the pastoral needs of the diocese and how we address the inevitable challenges that will arise.  “The future will clearly involve many new arrangements around pastoral ministry in parishes but the more we progress on the road to the Synod and the preparations across the diocese, the more optimistic I am about how we are going to meet this. What’s clear is that in recent years many lay people are very much answering a new calling to them at this stage of the Church’s journey and what started out as a real challenge for us is quickly being transformed into an opportunity.”

Bishop Leahy continued:  “Everything has its time and the time is right for a greater role by the laity in pastoral ministry.  However, there are those who will have a priestly or consecrated-life vocational calling and I would urge them to listen to that.  It can be challenging, it can sometimes have moments of loneliness and certainly a road less travelled. But no path is free of challenges or moments of loneliness and priests would readily admit that there is a huge sense of fulfilment in the role, particularly in the service of God.“I believe there are young men who have the idea at the back of their minds. Somehow they haven't got around to talking to someone about it. I encourage them to do so as we need them. I would encourage particularly young men not to leave it go until they are older. God loves a cheerful and generous giver. To give their lives to God in their youth is a good thing and is a big gift for the Church and society.”


Bishop Leahy thanked the priests of the diocese for their positive engagement with the changing shape of the Church's services and mission today.  “I also are very grateful to many lay people, women and men, who take are taking on a new sense of co-responsibility in the planning and organising of the parish life. It's true that for most lay people their baptismal commitment is lived out in the family, at work and in society at large. “It is there they are called to reach out particularly to others who are in any way on the periphery. Indeed, it should be a distinctive feature of Catholics today that they are mindful of people who are often forgotten in society - the homeless, the migrants, the socially disadvantaged. “But it is true that we need also lay people directly committed to the workings of the parish community. It is the parish community where we are nourished spiritually for our Christian mission. For the community to be vibrant, it needs the creativity and energy of committed women and men who dedicate themselves to building up the parish community in its liturgical, social and missionary dimensions.”


2015 Clerical Changes:

•       Rev. Liam Enright to be Administrator, Rathkeale

•      Rev. Joseph Cussen, C.C. Kilmallock and P.P. Bulgaden / Martinstown to become C.C. Newcastle West to succeed Rev. Richard Keane.

•       Rev. Richard Keane to go on study leave, studying Canon Law in Ottawa.

•       Very Rev. Joseph Shire to be Administrator of Bulgaden / Martinstown.

•       Rev. Gerard O’Leary to be member of the pastoral team in Kilmallock parish.

•       Rev. Brendan Duggan, CSSp, to be C.C. in Monaleen parish.

•       Sr. Eileen Lenihan to be part-time Vicar for Consecrated Life.

At the Chapter Meeting the following nominations were announced:

•       Monsignor Michael Lane to be Archdeacon

•       Very Rev. Gerard Garrett to be Canon and Penitentiary of the Chapter

•       Very Rev. John Daly to be Canon of the Prebendary of Ardcanny

•       Very Rev. Joseph Shire to be Canon of the Prebendary of Croagh