Parish Assembly

Our Parish Assembly is our parish leadership group, made up of parishioners drawn from our entire parish community who, together with our priests,  look to the needs of the parish and try to plan for how these might be best met .

The first Parish Assembly  here in the Harbour Parishes was established back in 2006 and we are now in our fifth Parish Assembly, with each assembly serving a three year period.

The current officers of the Parish Assembly are:

Chairperson:                     Eamonn Downey

Secretary:                           Louise O' Sullivan Geary

What does a Parish Assembly do?

In his book ‘The Welcoming Parish’ Donal Harrington describes the key role of the parish assembly as follows:

'…. to exercise a leadership role that is at the service of the parish and its people .  The assembly is the group that holds the whole parish in its view and plans for the future. Essentially the assembly is the place where the key questions facing the parish can be thought about, prayed with, discussed and decided on. '

The Parish Assembly seeks to answer the following questions:

  • Who are we as a parish?

  • What are the needs of our parish community?

  • What are we called to do?

  • How can we best go about it?

The goal of any parish assembly is to create an ever more caring welcoming vibrant community where our Christian faith and the good news of Jesus is both celebrated and lived.

What does a Parish Assembly not do?

Parish assemblies do not take over the responsibilities of the many other groups who look after different ministries in the parish and do so very well.   

The Parish Assembly does not worry about issues like finance or maintenance of church properties: These are looked after by the Parish Finance Committee. 

How does the Parish Assembly work?

The Parish Assembly meets once a month, about nine times a year , for approximately an hour and a half each meeting. The primary responsibility of members is to attend the monthly meeting and to actively contribute to planning the way forward for the parish. 

The assembly is not meant to, nor does it  try to, do everything itself. Rather it comes up with ideas and initiatives that it believes would be good for the parish and then invites the wider parish community to become involved in implementing those ideas and initiatives. Hopefully, in this way, the parish assembly creates opportunities for other people in the community to get involved in those aspects of the life of the parish that interest them most.

A Word from our Chairperson, Eamonn Downey

Dear fellow parishioners.

Being the Chairman of a group which I feel hopelessly inadequate to serve is not a first for me! I am still getting my head around the role, not the principle, as such, more about being effective and getting something done. Please have a quick read about the role of the Parish Assembly .

Our planned monthly meetings were stopped due to Covid19, we had a few zoom meetings but, in truth, there was not an awful lot we could do within the restrictions. Thank God we can shortly attend Mass; thank God for our priests who embraced technology and brought us Mass and those wonderful interviews by Father Con. If I learnt one thing from Covid19 it is the absolute need to embrace every aspect of this wonderful world. I had taken too much for granted in my own life.

Our Parish Assembly is a collection of parishioners who have been asked to act on your behalf for a short period. We are drawn from all over this large and beautiful parish. Please assist us by reflecting on and engaging in how you think things work in our community and your Church. No idea is too small, no ask too big. 

 

In my lifetime there has never been a greater need for the members of our Church to play a more active role in minding and developing our Church. I embrace the idea of a free Press but I am tired of hearing and reading that our Church is now on the margins of Irish society. My Church is not on the margins of my life. Those members of our Community who are currently serving on the Parish Assembly would love to hear from you.

God bless.

Eamonn Downey           

May 2021

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