St. Aidan’s Cathedral Pastoral Council
The concept of Pastoral Councils stemmed from Vatican II in 1965 and, since then the Church has repeatedly recommended the development of pastoral councils as a means of encouraging the shared responsibility of all the baptized in the life and mission of the church. When Pope John Paul II spoke to over 100 bishops in Asia, in New Delhi, he proposed that they ‘foster greater involvement of the laity and consecrated men and women in pastoral planning and decision making through such structures as pastoral councils and parish assemblies.’
Members of the Parish Pastoral Council are: Fr. Odhrán Furlong, Fr Billy Swan, Lily Leacy, Patricia McNally,Bridie Morrissey, Marie O’Tiarnaigh,Colm O’Tiarnaigh, Fiona McCoole (Secretary), Adrian Cathcart, Elma Rossiter, Philomena Murphy,Mary Jowett,Pauline Talbot, Caroline O’Reilly.
We are delighted to also have two transition year students from the CBS on our council also.
A Parish Pastoral Council is a leadership structure that enables priests,religious and lay people to work together to build up a dynamic Christian community that is characterised by faith, evangelisation, worship and service. To this end, it discerns what is best for the parish in light of the gospel, the church’s teaching, and what the Holy Spirit is saying through the People of God.
Today this fresh vision for the Church is becoming a reality, as pastoral councils are being embraced by more and more parishes as a means of moving forward towards the new evangelization.
St. Aidan’s Cathedral pastoral council was set up following a parish Mission in 2010. A core group who helped on the committee for the Mission were invited to become involved on the first Parish Pastoral Council,and the first meeting was held on 2nd June 2010.
A mission statement for the pastoral council was agreed upon and it can be seen written in stone at the entrance to the Cathedral. It reads: “We the parishioners of St. Aidan’s parish, a caring community routed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and united around the table of the Eucharist, strive to reflect the love and mercy of God. We are committed to making our parish a place where each person feels welcomed accepted and valued”.
Dervla Tierney, the Chairperson of the pastoral council shares her insights about her involvement.”Being Chair of St. Aidan’s Pastoral Council for the last number of years has been a very enriching experience for me. It has allowed me to get a perspective on the entire parish community and all the things that are happening in the parish, that I was not aware of before. There are so many people involved in different areas in the parish, from the weekly cleaning of the church to the collectors and the counting teams. There are the choirs and the servers and the decorating committee and the readers and the ushers and the parish office team, to name but a few! I am in awe of all these people who give of their time to making our parish of St. Aidan’s a better, more welcoming community. Being on St. Aidan’s Pastoral Council with a cross-section of our parish community exposes me to all these people who go about parish business with a smile and an enthusiasm that is infectious and inspiring. The Pastoral Council tries to help enrich the life of St. Aidan’s parish by organising events to encourage more participation from those who limit their engagement with the parish to Sunday Mass. We try to encourage those parishioners to get more involved in parish life whether through one of the parish groups or parish events. We also try to reach out to those parishioners of St. Aidan’s who may only attend Mass at Christmas and Easter. We want those parishioners to feel welcome and a part of our community, and seek to actively encourage their participation in our parish life. Getting more involved in St. Aidan’s parish has enriched my faith, because it exposes me to other parishioners and our two fantastic priests, all of whom have a deep faith and who live their lives in a daily expression of God’s love. I lean on their faith in my personal times of doubt. It has been an honour for me to serve on St. Aidan’s Pastoral Council ” – Dervla Tierney,Chairperson.