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Boundaries of Pastoral Areas in the Diocese of Kilmore 2010 - 2014
After consultation with the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the priests in their deanery groupings between November 2009 and March 2010 the following are the agreed boundaries for Pastoral Areas in the Diocese of Kilmore until the next review in May 2014:
Pastoral Areas and Pastoral Area Teams – Diocesan Policy
The thirty-six parishes of the diocese are grouped into nine Pastoral Areas. The Pastoral Areas provide an opportunity for parishes to work together in such a way that individual parishes are supported in their efforts to ensure that they will continue to exist as vibrant communities of faith into the future. Such inter-parish co-operation in the diocese should be predominantly mission-centred rather than purely administrative; however, there is awareness that the declining numbers of priests is lending a sense of urgency to this development.
Within each Pastoral Area Team a leadership role will be exercised by a Pastoral Area Leader (PAL) and in some instances an Assistant Pastoral Area Leader. The PAL supports the Pastoral Area Team in fulfilling its role as outlined below; they act on behalf of the Bishop exercising responsibility for certain aspects of the pastoral life of the Area. The effectiveness of the PAL’s role relies heavily on the co-operation of the priests within the area. The PAL’s regularly meet together as a group and meet also with the Bishop as they exercise their role. The PAL will seek to ensure that the priests of the Pastoral Area meet on a regular basis; he will show concern for the well-being of the priests within his area, encouraging social interaction and mutual support; and particularly supporting those who are ill. Schedules need to be organised within the Pastoral Area that allow adequate cover to enable priests to have a day off each week and their annual holidays, as well as ensuring that there is cover in the case of sickness or of other reasons which necessitate being away (including absences at short notice such as bereavement or family illness). This will involve organising ongoing reflection on the rationalisation of Mass times so that the priests within the pastoral area can provide adequate cover even if two of their number are absent through illness or bereavement.
The primary responsibility for encouraging ongoing formation among clergy and ensuring that clergy have adequate sabbatical, study, retreat and formation opportunities lies with the bishop and existing diocesan bodies; however, the PAL has a role in linking clergy within the Area with these opportunities and working with the other priests around scheduling to ensure that it is possible for a priest to avail of such opportunities. Similarly it remains the primary care of the bishop to ensure the administration of the parish continues in the event of a priest being absent for a prolonged period because of illness or another cause and if he has not been able to make arrangements for the care of parish finances, registers, correspondence etc. The PAL may liaise with the appropriate diocesan authorities in this regard; similarly it is the responsibility of all the priests in the Pastoral Area to work together to ensure that adequate cover can be provided in the event of a priest being absent.
Other responsibilities of the PAL include: (a) To make arrangements for the establishment and running of a Pastoral Area Teams (b) To ensure that all Pastoral Area meetings have a pre-arranged agenda and that minutes are taken by the secretary (c) To ensure that exchange weekends are organised at least four times per year so that the priests of the Pastoral Area are known and recognised by all parishioners who attend the weekend Masses (h) To be the pastoral area contact person for the Bishop, the Diocesan Office and the Diocesan Pastoral Team.
In each Pastoral Area there will be a Pastoral Area Team which will include laity and clergy working together. The principal concern of the Pastoral Area Team will be the pastoral care of the people and priests in their group of parishes. This team will also be responsible for discerning and co-ordinating the gifts and strengths available in the Pastoral Area that can be put to good use in the service of communion and mission. It will oversee pastoral activities and initiatives that take place on a Pastoral Area basis. This will require strong support for and an understanding of the need for active and resourced Parish Pastoral Councils and the provision of resources for adult faith formation, pastoral development, youth ministry etc. This can be done in conjunction with the Diocesan Pastoral Centre but it is important that the Pastoral Area’s own resources in these areas are identified, encouraged and made use of. The Pastoral Area Team will seek to encourage cooperation and meetings among the pastoral groups that are active in the parishes – liturgy groups, baptismal groups, prayer groups, bereavement groups etc. Some or all of these might be organised on a Pastoral Area wide basis. Over the coming years the team will also be required to discuss and to make appropriate changes to the number and times of weekend Masses in their area. It is advisable that all the Masses can be covered comfortably when one third of the priests in the area are absent.