Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Alphonsus Cullinan has launched the Go Make Disciples (2019 – 2024) pastoral plan for the diocese
The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Alphonsus Cullinan has launched the Go Make Disciples (2019 – 2024) pastoral plan for the diocese.
The plan sets out a programme of development and renewal in the diocese over the next five years.
According to Bishop Cullinan, it is “ an expression of faith in the power of the Holy Spirit who makes all things new and of our hope that under the guidance of the Spirit our parishes will be alive and hearts set on fire”.
The plan has emerged from a process of dialogue and consultation, initiated by the diocesan pastoral council, and conducted in a number of venues throughout the diocese during 2018.
Bishop Cullinan says that peoples’ hopes and dreams for their local church were recorded at the listening sessions.
“Parishioners are emphatic that change is needed. It will not do to continue as before if we are to address the many challenges that face the church in her mission today,” he says.
“People identified the absence of youth in our churches, the ageing and dwindling congregations, the serious decline in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and, of course, the enormous challenge posed by the rapid process of secularisation in our society. It is clear that these are issues that need to be urgently addressed in a new pastoral plan.
“People are proud of their Catholic faith and believe that we have good news to share, but we must read the signs of the times, listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, and then plan how we are going to share that good news now and in the future."
Bishop Cullinan identified four themes or core strategic directions to realise this vision. These include:
1. Becoming an evangelising Church
2. Creating communities of faith characterised by hospitality, belonging and acceptance
3. Enhancing the quality of our liturgical celebrations and providing opportunities for spiritual growth
4. Remodeling leadership and governance structures to serve the mission of evangelising and transforming the world.
“Pope Francis has called for a missionary church and for all members to become missionary disciples. Hence the title of our pastoral plan, Go Make Disciples,” he adds.