A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Leahy
What will the future of the Church be like? I can’t answer that question in detail and yet, in the light of faith, I believe we can say two things: it’ll be both the same as it is now and yet also different.
The same because Jesus promised he will never abandon the Church. The Word of God, the sacraments and the community life that he gave us, in the power of the Spirit, will always be essential pillars of the Church. Different because the Church is on a journey. Guided by the Holy Spirit, it is always developing and growing as it moves into new centuries, new cultures and new ways of doing things.
In our Diocese the 2016 Synod offered us important signposts to guide us in the next steps we need to take at this stage of our journey. One of these steps is the development of “team ministry”. In the past two years we have worked on this and are now at a point of arranging our Diocese into Pastoral Units with teams of clergy ministering in each unit.
In other words, a number of parishes will be co-operating together as a pastoral unit with two or three priests ministering together as a team to the pastoral needs of these parishes. Each of the priests will be a “co-Parish Priest”, that is, we will no longer have one single Parish Priest per parish but several priests working in all of the parishes that are linked together as a pastoral unit. In devising these pastoral units, I have travelled the Diocese and consulted with many groups of clergy and laity about this new arrangement.