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Launch of New Book - Parishes in Transition

In 2008 I attended a conference in Mary Immaculate College.  This conference was a real attempt to grapple with the changing reality of parishes in Ireland as our society, and, indeed, our Church, is changing.  The following is a press release from the launch of the book which contains the papers of the conference.  The conference was very worthwhile and I am sure you will find this book interesting and challenging. (Possidius)

The 27th of October saw the launch of Parishes in Transition, a collection of essays which has its origins in a conference, under the same title, held at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) in 2008, hosted by the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at MIC.

The book, which was officially launched by Bishop Kieran O’Reilly, features contributions from various speakers at the conference as well as a number of other theologians, pastors and historians.
According to its editor, Dr. Eugene Duffy, it is an understatement to claim that the Church in
Ireland has been going through a period of intense crisis over the past decade or more. Much
attention has focused on the failures of those in leadership, in the priesthood and religious life. This is only part of the crisis that the Church is now attempting to face. Meanwhile another seismic shift has been occurring as vocations to priesthood and religious life have plummeted with the result that the forms of pastoral ministry and parish life that were such staples of the Catholic Church in Ireland for generations will no longer be possible.
In the light of this change and in order to contribute positively to the necessary response that is called for, the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, organised a two-day conference, Parishes in Transition, in May 2008.
This conference, which was one of the first of such conferences to be held in Ireland, proved to be a unique and successful opportunity for parishioners, clergy and theologians to explore together important pastoral issues confronting the Church in Ireland.  The book deals with a number of issues, each representing items on the agenda of any parish community or group that attempts to explore possible ways forward in the current climate of change and transition. Various topics covered include looking at the church from an historical perspective; looking at current geographical, demographic, social and economic factors, as well as the impact of information technology and its implications for social networks and relationships; the need for leadership in the Church and the necessity for the clustering of parishes if the Church is to
Speaking at the launch Dr. Eugene Duffy said “It is hoped that the essays in this volume will
provide some further enlightenment, impetus and encouragement for those already
embarked on the process of renewal and reorganisation of parish life at this time of significant transition. There are many other dimensions to the task of renewal in need of urgent attention, but let these contributions suffice for the moment”.
Contributors include Patrick Connolly, Eamonn Conway, Eugene Duffy, Eamonn Fitzgibbon, Liam Irwin, Nóirín Lynch, John Kernan, Desmond McCafferty, Dermot Meehan, Donal Murray, Brendan O’Keefe, Eoin O’Mahony, Catherine Swift, Thomas R. Whelan, Myriam Wijlens and Henk Witte.
This book should be of particular interest to all who are involved with or interested in the future
development of the parish, especially the clustering of parishes into new pastoral areas and is available to buy at any good bookshop for €14.99.

Article posted on 29th of October 2010

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