Author Archives: Diocese of Achonry

Bishop Christy Jones, R.I.P.

Bishop Christy Jones 1936-2018

With sadness, the diocese of Achonry has learned of the death of Bishop Christy Jones, retired Bishop of Elphin.

His death leaves a significant gap in the life of the Western Dioceses.  As a former bishop of our neighbouring diocese, his friendship was deeply valued and sustaining.  His untiring witness to outreach to the poor and marginalised was truly a blessing to many and an example to all.

Our sympathy and prayers are with his sister, nephews and nieces, his extended family and with the bishop, priests, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Elphin.

His place in our memory is assured and we pray that he may eternally enjoy the fullness of The Kingdom of God, to which he was ever faithful and to which he continually called those in his care.

May he rest in peace.

 

Fr Dermot Meehan, Diocesan Administrator, Diocese of Achonry.

Dear Parishioners ….

Dear Parishioners,

Normally a letter to the people of the diocese comes from the bishop but as we currently have no bishop in the diocese of Achonry, we, the priests of the diocese, wish to place before you, the people of our parish communities, some points for your consideration. We offer these points as pastors and as teachers of the message of life at the heart of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

On May 25th, we are being asked to vote on the Eighth Amendment to our Constitution. This amendment was voted into our Constitution by the people of Ireland after a referendum in 1983. The wording of that amendment states:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

The referendum on May 25th is asking voters whether they want to keep this wording in our Constitution or remove it. The wording as it stands recognises the right to life of the unborn and equally the right to life of the mother. Removing the wording would mean that babies in the womb would have no rights under our Constitution and it would allow the Dáil to introduce legislation for abortion.

The debate on the forthcoming referendum raises serious issues which we all need to consider carefully before casting our vote.

In our parishes, we are privileged to share the joy of mothers and fathers in the birth of a new baby. We witness again and again their wonder at the new life they have helped to create and the tenderness of their care for the infant who is so entirely dependent on them. We see too the wider welcome given to a baby by older brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Working in our parishes, we have walked with mothers – and fathers – who have been overwhelmed by news of pregnancy, who struggle to cope, who are unsure and uncertain about the future, but who choose to welcome their child with the support, compassion, care and love of family, friends and community.

As pastors, we have also shared the journeys of mothers and fathers who become aware during pregnancy that their baby has a life-limiting condition. Though there is heartbreak, we have seen so often the gratitude of parents for precious days, hours, even minutes with their baby after birth, giving them time to name and baptise their child, making memories that live long in the heart.

These experiences with the people we serve leave us with the firm conviction of the wonder of human life that begins at conception. On a purely human level, that sense of wonder is supported by developments in science and medicine that give, in our time, ever greater insight into the hidden life of the little child in the womb with his or her own unique and never to be repeated DNA structure, whose heart begins to beat at 21 days, who by 12 weeks can yawn and stretch developing limbs. In all of this, we see the hand of God for whom human persons are the high point of Creation, made in God’s image and likeness. The insight of the Psalmist rings so true,

For it was you who created my being,

knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I thank you for the wonder of my being. (Psalm 138)

Life is God’s gift and the right to life comes from God and not from any law or constitution. Because it terminates human life which begins at conception, abortion can never be condoned in any circumstances. The circumstances in which human life begins are sometimes far from ideal and in such circumstances compassion is certainly called for, compassion which cares for and supports the mother in a crisis situation and compassion which sees the baby she carries in her womb as entirely innocent and deserving of the right to life.

The Eighth Amendment to our Constitution gives protection to the most vulnerable and voiceless members of our society. The forthcoming referendum calls us to be their voice and defend their right to life. It challenges us to be communities that show genuine compassion and practical care in every way for mothers – and fathers – for whom pregnancy causes a crisis.

We all need to be as fully informed as we can be on the issues before us in the referendum on May 25th and on the implications of our vote.  We pray and encourage you to pray with us that God will guide us and all citizens of our country to make the best decision for the unborn and their mothers.

Yours in Christ,

The priests of the diocese of Achonry.

Cathedral Reopens

Following some months of intense and skillful works, the Cathedral of The Annunciation and St Nathy has re-opened.  Much of the works carried out lie beneath the surface and tended to electrical, plumbing and essential repairs.  There were some changes made too that are obvious and a clear improvement. Well done to all involved and all who have supported this project over recent years.

 

 

VOCATIONS 2018

VOCATIONS SUNDAY 2018

The World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2018 falls on Sunday April 22, Good Shepherd Sunday. In the Gospel (Mt 9:38 and Lk 10:2) Jesus instructs his disciples to “Pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send labourers into his harvest”.

Whilst the church recognises that everyone receives a vocation from God, be it to married life, single life, or some form of ministry, the church focuses on this day, to pray for vocations to ordained ministry (Priesthood and Diaconate) and to religious life in all its forms.

  • Will you make a special effort to ask the Lord for more vocations?
    Pray for more young men and women in our diocese to respond to God’s call.
    Pray for the priests and religious who have ministered to you throughout your life, both living and dead.
    Keep your priests and religious in your prayers throughout the week.
    Encourage your children, grandchildren, or other young people to consider a vocation?

This year, will be the 55th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Numerous surveys show that a very high percentage of men and women who have entered the priesthood or religious life have been involved in some aspect of ministry in their parish and have received encouragement from either a priest or a member of their parish community.

Is there someone your know whom would make a good priest, deacon or religious? Could you consider encouraging them to take the time to reflect on this possibility? Are vocations prayed for on a regular basis? If not, could you encourage your parish for opportunities to pray for vocations?

FOR INFORMATION ON VOCATIONS

Our diocesan Vocations Director is:

Fr Paul Kivlehan
The Presbytery
Ballaghaderreen
Co. Roscommon
Tel. 094-986 0011

or submit your query by using this contact form.  If your interest is not in the diocesan priesthood but possibly in the Permanent Diaconate or Religious Life, Fr Paul will direct your query to the relevant person.  Thank you.


 

Choose Life

"Choose Life 2018" is an initiative of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. It promotes the Catholic Church’s teaching on the dignity and value of every human life. We offer dioceses, parishes and members of the faithful pro-life material and resources to encourage discussion in families on the value of every human life. We encourage you to use and share our content to promote a culture of life and a civilisation of love. Choose Life!

SOME RESOURCES

Choose Life 2018 on Twitter

Permanent Diaconate Ordinations

Ordinations to the Permanent Diaconate took place for the first time in the Diocese of Achonry on Easter Monday, April 2nd, 2018.  Bishop Brendan Kelly returned to the diocese to ordain two men to the Permanent Diaconate. Fr Dermot Meehan, Diocesan Administrator and Director of the Permanent Diaconate programme in the diocese was the homilist.

A packed congregation in the Church of St James’, Charlestown, Co. Mayo watched and prayed as Martin Lynch (Parish of Kiltimagh) and Kevin Flynn (Parish of Collooney) became the first Permanent Deacons in our diocese.  Both men are married and their families were in attendance along with many friends and well wishers.

After the homily, both candidates are called forward by a deacon – answering “present” to the calling of their name is symbolic of their response to God’s Call to ministry.  Having presented themselves for ordination they are, in turn, presented to the bishop as candidates for ordination.

Having been called to Ministry and accepted for ordination, both candidates committed themselves to the ministry of Deacon and responded to the questions put before them by Bishop Brendan Kelly.

Both will assume ministry in the diocese and we pray God’s continued blessing on them and their families.

Ad multos annos.

From Cross to Empty Tomb

Praying Around The Cross – St Celsus’ Church, Kilkelly

Who will
roll the stone away
they wondered
as they wandered
to the empty tomb.

Borrowed!
like so many other rooms;
the Bethlehem stable
the Upper Room
Martha and Mary’s kitchen
where great things happened

welcome offered
food prepared and shared
lessons in listening
borrowed yes, but always
willing to repay

Repay!
every act of kindness
every word of encouragement
every step taken
every difference made

Made …..
the tomb was made by man
He was made of God.

The stone was rolled away.
He is risen.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

                                         (VS – Good Friday 2018)

 

 

 

Data Protection Officer

The Dioceses of the Western Province are recruiting for a Data Protection Officer.  The purpose of this role is to assist a number of Dioceses of the Western Province (Tuam Ecclesiastical Province) and their constituent parishes and agencies in achieving compliance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Western Province comprises the Diocese of Tuam, Galway, Elphin, Killala, Achonry and Clonfert. The Catholic Church recognises that good pastoral care and respect for the dignity of every person requires that personal data should be sourced, stored, processed and eventually disposed of in an appropriate manner and welcomes the essential principles underlying the GDPR.


dpo

DOWNLOAD JOB DESCRIPTION AND APPLICATION DETAILS

Application also available on IrishJobs.ie 

Pope Francis and Lent

Pope Francis Answers “What Should I Give Up For Lent?”

“Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive.”  (Lent 2017)

“For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need. By taking this path, the “proud”, the “powerful” and the “wealthy” spoken of in the Magnificat can also be embraced and undeservedly loved by the crucified Lord who died and rose for them. This love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness and love that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches. Yet the danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is Hell. The pointed words of Abraham apply to them and to all of us: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Lk 16:29). Such attentive listening will best prepare us to celebrate the final victory over sin and death of the Bridegroom, now risen, who desires to purify his Betrothed in expectation of his coming.” (Lent 2016)

“As a way of overcoming indifference and our pretensions to self-sufficiency, I would invite everyone to live this Lent as an opportunity for engaging in what Benedict XVI called a formation of the heart (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 31). A merciful heart does not mean a weak heart. Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart, closed to the tempter but open to God. A heart which lets itself be pierced by the Spirit so as to bring love along the roads that lead to our brothers and sisters. And, ultimately, a poor heart, one which realizes its own poverty and gives itself freely for others.” (Lent 2015)

“Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.”  (Lent 2014)

“Today gratuitousness is often not part of daily life where everything is bought and sold. Everything is calculated and measured. Almsgiving helps us to experience giving freely, which leads to freedom from the obsession of possessing, from the fear of losing what we have, from the sadness of one who does not wish to share his wealth with others.” (Lent 2014)

“Dear friends, Lent is the favourable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbour. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. I encourage all the faithful to express this spiritual renewal also by sharing in the Lenten Campaigns promoted by many Church organizations in different parts of the world, and thus to favour the culture of encounter in our one human family. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter.”

Diocesan Administrator

Fr Dermot Meehan, Diocesan Administrator Diocese of Achonry

 

Fr Dermot Meehan, Parish Priest of Swinford, Co. Mayo has been elected Administrator of the Diocese of Achonry with immediate effect.

The diocese wishes him every blessing in this role and the priests and people of the diocese will support him in this undertaking and remember him in prayer.

As Diocesan Administrator, Fr Dermot assumes responsibility for the diocese and will represent the diocese at meetings of the Episcopal Conference.  He will manage the day to day affairs of the diocese until such time as a new bishop is a appointed.

February 12th, 2018

 

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