Churches in Cork 'may not have a weekend Mass as they did up to now' under changes within diocese 

Plans put in place will see parishes across Cork & Ross work more closely together, in what are being termed 'families of parishes'.
Churches in Cork 'may not have a weekend Mass as they did up to now' under changes within diocese 

Some churches in the Diocese of Cork & Ross may not have a weekend Mass as they did up to now under "a radical new start" outlined by Bishop Fintan Gavin. A cross on a Catholic church. Picture Denis Minihane.

Some churches in the Diocese of Cork & Ross may not have a weekend Mass as they did up to now under "a radical new start" and "new beginning" outlined by Bishop Fintan Gavin.

He has published his new pastoral letter Putting out into deep waters (Lk 5:4) Transforming parishes together into mission-centred faith communities.

It outlines a number of changes in the diocese moving forward as 12 priests retire this summer, and one young man being ordained.

Plans put in place will see parishes across Cork & Ross work more closely together, in what are being termed 'families of parishes'.

"Families of parishes are groupings of parishes with a minimum of three and a maximum of six parishes geographically close to one another where the priests work as part of a team across those parishes," the Bishop explained.

Assignment of Priests 

"In a family of parishes there will be a team of priests including a moderator and co-parish priests (all equal and with the same rights and responsibilities as they had up to now). 

"The Co-PPs will work together across the parishes. This means that a priest will be appointed to the family of parishes and then reside in a particular parish but will minister across those parishes. 

"The task of the moderators will be to co-ordinate the work of the families of parishes. 

"The hope is that each of the teams will have the help of a facilitator to enable them to work in this new way. There will also be a number of curates, assistant priests and deacons who will now be assigned to families of parishes rather than individual parishes."

Some priests, Bishop Gavin said, are also concerned that they will be further stretched with the diminishing number of priests. 

However, he explained: "It is envisaged that we will agree certain ground rules to protect against this. One rule might be that a priest should celebrate no more than a Vigil Mass and two Sunday Masses on a weekend. The Masses should be scheduled so that the priest does not have to rush the Mass and has time to meet people afterwards and to comfortably travel between churches and parishes.

"This will mean that we will have fewer Masses and Masses won’t be duplicated in the same way. Indeed, certain churches may not have a weekend Mass as they did up to now. This is something that we will have to work on."

More parishes will be left without a resident priest.

"Our hope is that all the parishes in each of the families of parishes, including the parishes without a resident priest, will all be served equally by all the priests who will work across the parishes. It’s like what happens in a family: those who need the most care receive the most attention from all.

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