Message from Bishop Martin to accompany Report on Responses from Parish Meetings
24th January 2024.
I welcome this report and thank all who made it happen. It offers insight into the reality of parish life throughout our diocese. We are taking steps now to address some issues raised arising from the increasing age profile of our priests and their decreasing numbers. There are two issues we are working on – the frequency of how we celebrate Mass and developing the role of lay people in the mission of the parish, especially towards young people.
The celebration of Mass is central to who we are as church. We will undertake discussions in the coming months between neighbouring parishes to reduce the number of Masses. My desire is that this will lead to greater participation by parishioners and life-giving celebrations of the Mass – full and active participation by all the people.
In preparation for these discussions, I offer during this Lenten season a resource for each parish to renew its appreciation of the Mass, particularly the value of optimal participation by people. Further details of this programme (see link below) will be made available in the coming weeks prior to Lent 2024 – the needed programme of instruction. It is important for the faith of our people that the communal gathering, that is the Liturgy of the Mass, will have a lasting influence on community life.
While there are technological possibilities of availing of Mass online as happened during COVID-19 and as noted in the report, it is the actual physical participation in the Mass with other parishioners that will ensure the future of our parish faith communities.
The openness in the report to the increasing involvement of lay people in the life of our parishes is a real sign of hope. It offers encouragement to our ongoing work with Maynooth Pontifical University to put in place courses in lay ministry specifically to address the needs of Kilmore Diocese. The focus of these courses will be on ‘people skills’ as is emphasised in the report including teamwork with our priests and permanent deacons. I’ll keep you updated on progress here.
With prayerful good wishes.
+ Martin Hayes
Bishop of Kilmore.
Understanding the Mass: Trailer and six episodes
 Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful be led to that full, conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people … is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive their Christian spirit. Therefore, through the needed programme of instruction, pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it in all their pastoral work. (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Ch. II, section 14).