At various times Governments submit to the electorate an opportunity to review it’s performance by way of a General Election. Likewise the Church in recent times provides an opportunity for the laity to discuss pertinent matters relating to it’s performance by way of Synods, Episcopal conferences and Parish Council meetings. In the early sixties the Pope convened a Council which discussed at great length the role of the Church in the modern world and subsequently issued a decree outlining the importance of the role of laity in the Church’s administrative and pastoral needs. However there was some hesitancy to apply the directions given mainly because the Church at that time enjoyed some degree of complacency.
During the past few years the Diocese of Killaloe drew up a Pastoral Plan which called for a formula to meet the pastoral and spiritual needs of the Diocese. It became clearly evident that the ageing pattern of priests and religious was a source of serious concern and practical solutions to overcome the situation were presented. The lack of vocations of people entering formation for the priesthood and religious life is an ongoing problem and needs urgent attention. The newly appointed Bishop Monahan is faced with the task of providing pastoral care for the various parishes and communities in the Diocese. The reality of providing residential priests for all the existing parishes has become increasingly difficult. The Bishop appealed for a greater understanding in an effort to overcome this crisis.
Looking to the future requires that we need not succumb to a nostalgic expectation that the trend will reverse itself. What is required is that we support the Church that models itself on the teachings of Christ and the new directives that are being called for in the light of this deteriorating situation. The Church is calling on the faithful to nurture the seeds that are being planted and cherish it’s fruit despite the negative vibes that tend to defame the role of the Church in society.