Lay funeral ministers start work in Diocese

IT was a ‘historic day’ at Holy Cross Church in Lisnaskea on Sunday as the Bishop of Clogher commissioned 45 new members of the laity to the Parish Bereavement Teams across the Diocese.
As previously reported by the Herald, it was confirmed in September that over 40 new ‘lay leaders’ will be introduced to Clogher Diocese to preside over funerals as parishioners take on more duties.
It was also confirmed that over 70 new lay leaders have been undertaking training in Clogher and Down and Connor dioceses, as the shortage of priests in Ireland continues.
“This morning [Sunday] in Holy Cross Church Lisnaskea, Bishop Larry Duffy commissioned 45 members of Parish Bereavement Teams from throughout the Diocese,” posted the Parish of Aghalurcher.
“Congratulations to all. We look forward to seeing more of our laity taking up these new roles.”
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Clogher was pleased with the success of Sunday’s commissioning of laity to the Parish Bereavement Teams.
“Today [Sunday] was an historic day for the Diocese of Clogher as Bishop Larry formally commissioned 29 Funeral Ministers from across the diocese at Holy Cross Church, Lisnaskea,” said a spokesperson.
“These ministers will accompany families and communities at times of bereavement and loss and to lead some parts of funeral liturgies. As Bishop Larry has said, ‘Our Baptism calls us to serve in new ways’.”
In worrying news for the Catholic Church in Ireland, the Bishop of Clogher recently warned that there will be fewer than 10 priests covering the 85 churches across the whole diocese in the next 20 years
Communications Officer for the Diocese of Clogher, Dr Gary Carville, previously told the Irish Catholic newspaper that laity must take an active role in the Church.
“It’s a very welcome development and flows from the initiative of Bishop of Clogher Larry Duffy, who sought to invite and involve more lay people in parish ministry including some liturgical ministry,” he said.
“It’s heartening that over 40 people have been nominated by their parish and volunteered to come forward for their training [which will be carried out in conjunction with the ministry teams of Down and Connor].”
Locally, there was no 12 noon mass throughout the month of August last year at St Michael’s Church in Enniskillen due to clerical shortages impacting across the Diocese of Clogher.
Monsignor Peter O’Reilly previously called on the laity to have a greater involvement in local churches.
“Looking to the future, it is clear that we should no longer maintain a provision that depends integrally on a situation where two of the three priests in the parish are aged over 70,” said the Enniskillen priest.
“Future provision will have to take account of a greater role for lay people in the celebration of liturgies.”

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