Sunday 28th May Week 3
This weekend we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down upon the apostles. In an instant a group of frightened disciples were empowered to go out and proclaim God’s amazing dream for the world – the Good News of Jesus Christ!
When we read about Pentecost and the birth of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles, we find inspiration for where we are as a Church here in Ireland today. We know that we have come to a fork in the road. We can’t keep going the way we were, we have to head out on a new pathway.
In Down & Connor the Pathways to the Future project is charting the next steps on this journey. We have to be realistic – change is inevitable. There will be new ways of working in our parishes and communities. But this isn’t something to be afraid of. God still has a dream for our Church. He wants us to be filled with the Spirit and willing to go out and share the Gospel with others. He wants us to be generous, loving and inclusive, welcoming everyone into his family. And he wants us to be confident that each of us – lay women and men, clergy and religious – has a part to play in renewing our parishes, the diocese and building up the Kingdom of God.
To find out more we encourage you to read Bishop Donal McKeown’s Pastoral below:
Pentecost-Pastoral-Letter from Most Rev Donal McKeown
Sunday 21st May Week 2
In the Gospel this Sunday we hear the mission that Jesus gives his Church – “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations.” And that is still our mission today. Here in Down and Connor, our Pathways to the Future programme has been set up to help us go out, make disciples and share the love of Christ more effectively in the coming years.
One initial task is the count of Mass attendance which is happening across the diocese this weekend. On a practical level this helps us to get an accurate snapshot of who is connecting with our local parishes at this time. But it also encourages us to reflect about who isn’t coming and how we might go out and share the Gospel with them.
That might seem a daunting task and it will mean doing some things differently in the future. But if we work together as a whole Church – lay people, religious and clergy, guided by the Holy Spirit – God promises that our efforts will be fruitful. Let’s pray for the courage and imagination to go out and make disciples here in Down and Connor.
Sunday 14th May Week 1
As a Church we are called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and share his love in the world. But we realise that our current way of doing things is getting more difficult to sustain. With smaller congregations and fewer priests we have to find new ways to ensure that the mission of the Church can be carried out in the future.
For this reason our Diocese of Down and Connor is undertaking a major programme of change called Pathways to the Future. It will look at the priorities and structures of the Church to see how we can best serve our 86 parishes and other ministries over the next twenty years.
A steering team of lay people and clergy has been preparing for this work in recent months and representatives of every parish have taken part in initial conversations. In the coming months we all have a chance to find out more and play our part. One important task is to collect accurate information and for that reason a census of Mass attendance across the diocese will be taken up next week.
This is a time of rebuilding and renewal for our diocese and we set off on the pathway confident that the Holy Spirit, sent to us by the Father, will guide us on our journey together. Please keep this project in your prayers!