Cluster Meeting Report
The meeting for Brendan and Cronan clusters took place on Thursday 22 March. Bishop Fintan began the meeting outlining the structure and hope for it. Presentations on the diocesan pastoral plan and on the 2017 assembly of priests were made and from this a number of proposals were made by the Bishop, Ger Nash Director of Pastoral Development and Maureen Kelly Pastoral Worker.
Firstly, a number of paid administrators will be appointed across the diocese to release priests from the office work and allowing them to give more time to pastoral work. Secondly, voluntary catechists are to be trained to work across the diocese who will support the work of priests and teachers engaging with parents in key sacramental moments. They will also work collaboratively with priests in pastoral areas.
The third proposal was around the shape of clusters; a number of options were proposed which would either enlarge or reduce the present size of the Brendan cluster which comprises of Birr, Shinrone, Kinnity and Kilcolman parishes. These were presented along with statistics outlining factors such as baptisms, deaths, marriages etc as well as the number of priests and number of churches.Those present gathered in parish groups to discuss the options. The result of this discussion was an overwhelming desire for the cluster to remain unchanged.
The Bishop concluded the meeting and said that the next step would be for those engaged in diocesan planning to collate the results of these cluster meetings from across the diocese and this information would help inform their work and that of the appointments board whose work is scheduled to be completed by July.