FOUR suburban parishes in Cork have been asked to share priests and resources in what Bishop Fintan Gavin describes as a “solution to its pastoral needs’ in the diocese.
Bishop Fintan Gavin, of the diocese of Cork and Ross, recently wrote to the parishioners of Clogheen/Kerry Pike Parish letting them know that their parish is to become one of a new ‘family of parishes’ which also includes Farranree, Gurranabraher, and Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill parishes in the north-side of Cork city.
This is the first time in the diocese of Cork and Ross where a larger group of parishes are being asked to come together to share ministry and resources as well as planning together. In this case, the priests will be ministering in four parishes.
The initiative follows the announcement that Archdeacon Liam O’Driscoll has retired as administrator of Clogheen/Kerry Pike Parish.
Bishop Fintan Gavin explained to parishioners that the diocese does not have enough priests to be able to replace each retiring priest in the diocese.
Bishop Fintan has asked the parishioners, pastoral councils, parish finance committees, and priests in the parishes to build a spirit of shared responsibility for the faith community, including finding new ways of sharing their faith with one another and with others.
“My hope is that your working together as a family of parishes, sharing resources and supporting one another, can serve as a model and inspiration for other parishes in the diocese in the years to come,” he said.
Speaking to The Echo, spokesman for the diocese and parish priest of Enniskeane in West Cork, Fr Tom Hayes, said the four parishes will be served by the same team of clergy going forward.
“This is an issue that is around the corner for every parish. This is going to be another aspect of change that we will have to get used to. This is a significant milestone.
“We have less clergy, but this is a good opportunity for people to get engaged in their parishes and see how it will grow. The bishop is asking the people in leadership groups in parishes to be part of the future direction of the parishes. It will not be determined by clergy only. The people will have a direct part in responding to how the parishes will evolve,” he added.
Fr Hayes said that following the current easing of restrictions Bishop Fintan Gavin plans to get "out and about" in the parishes moving forward.
“Each weekend going forward Bishop Fintan will visit a different parish in the diocese. It will be a great chance for him to meet the people,” he added.