Challenge is to renew the Church Archbishop tells Croagh Patrick Pilgrims
"The exciting challenge for all of us is the strengthen, develop and renew our Church in a changing Ireland," Archbishop Michael Neary told pilgrims at a Mass he celebrated on the summit of Croagh Patrick during Sunday’s annual national pilgrimage. The renewal of the Church in Ireland could not depend upon the efforts of bishops and priests along, he stated, but on the renewal, energy and commitment which lay people can bring to every parish in the country.
The Connaught reproduces the bishop’s address in full. I could not find a copy of it nor any other address from the good bishop online – and the Connaught does not update its site for some time after publication date. A Google search for diocese of Tuam does bring up the "towards the goal" site which is aimed at promotion of vocations within the diocese. In any case the bishop’s "Sermon on the Mount" had lots of suitable mountaineering and mountain analogies. John Hunt leader of the Everest expedition is cited by Bishop Neary as saying that it was not just the two that reached the summit but the whole support team and likewise obviously it is not just the bishops and priests who should be doing the work in the Church. He called for greater participation by lay people.
The topic of lack of priests was thrashed out on RTE’s Liveline programme during the week too. Mayo is probably faring better than many other parts of the country with relatively young priests and high proportion of people still attending Mass regularly. The degree to which lay people are actively participating (as opposed to passively) in their Church has increased dramatically in recent years through necessity and through common sense. Of course Bishop Neary could not mention the most obvious solutions to the problem of lack of priests. Allowing priests who have already left to get married to return and to continue as priests would be a first step. Making celibacy for priests optional – allowing them to get married should they wish to - would be a second step. And of course the third step would be to allow women to become priests. Most priests (and bishops) would agree with all of these propositions I suspect – particularly the first two.
Any or all of these options are a lot less controversial perhaps than the Vatican document condemning gay marriages or legal unions, which also hit the headlines during the week. It incensed a lot of people. I never heard the normally mild-mannered Senator David Norris so angry as on Morning Ireland yesterday. On the news late last night I heard that an "incitement to hatred" legal case was being mooted - so intemperate was some of the language contained in Cardinal Ratzinger’s document. Phrases contained about gay unions doing ‘violence’ to children (in many cases the natural children of one or both partners) in particular made a lot of people see red – and not just the cardinal’s red hat. David Norris was moved to point out that the Cardinal, unlike him, had been a member of the Hitler Youth and the cardinal had not yet renounced his association with that particular body. Hot stuff from a normally mild and jolly senator.
CAMP West Jobs
The Connaught carries a job notice:
CAMP WEST Computer Aided Mobilisation Project West
CAMP West is a state of the art Emergency Services Call Taking Communications and mobilising centre for the Fire Services of Connaught and Donegal and for the Ambulance Service of the Western Health Board. It is the first project of its kind where fire and ambulance communications services will be combined. …
- Senior Emergency Control Operators
- Emergency Control Operators
Apply to Mayo County Council closing date 4pm Thursday 11 September 2003.
Above is part of the advert for jobs based in Castlebar. This is great news as I am assuming that it marks the end of the long-running industrial dispute that put this important project on hold for so long? The equipment and nerve centre facilities have been sitting there at the Castlebar Fire Station for many years now. So long that the phrase ‘State of the Art’ bit may be pushing it a bit as the technology in the centre must be years old by now. Hopefully though, they have kept their GIS software and the underlying databases up to date in the meantime and kept tabs on the latest advances in radio communications technology. With the rate that new housing estates are being built in Castlebar and all around the county, there are many new estates that do not appear on standard maps. And with our predilection for giving new estates names like "The Downs" or "White Horse Lane" - the fire tenders could be forgiven if they headed off in the general direction of SE England - so it is important to be able to pinpoint them exactly and what route to follow to get there. Of course Mayo Fire Service has been in action on daily basis with rapid response times with our without CAMP West. CAMP West has a wider coverage and broader scope with improved integration between the emergency services. So, hopefully, these ads are a sign of an even better response times in the future and more lives saved as a result of getting people to hospital more quickly and arriving at accident and fire scenes sooner than was possible without CAMP West.