By Kim O'Leary
A number of churches across Kildare will experience changes within the next two years, with priests over the age of 75 being offered to reduce administrative duties by 2019 following an official announcement by Bishop Denis Nulty.
Meanwhile, St Conleth's Parish in Newbridge is set to receive a second Romanian priest with plans to bring in more priests from other countries to the parish to create a more diverse and multicultural environment.
Earlier in the week the Most Reverend Denis Nulty announced a series of changes for the Kildare-Leighlin dioceses, which follows on from a gathering in Mount St Anne’s last June where suggestions were posed to begin a radical reappraisal of diocesan structures.
Firstly, Bishop Nulty announced in his pastoral letter on 7 November that from the summer of 2019 every priest who has reached the age of 75 years will be given the opportunity to stand down from all parish administration work.
Bishop Nulty said in his newsletter last May that “there are 90 priests ministering in our diocese with a total of 27 over the age of 75 and 12 priests over 80 years of age.”
However, Bishop Nulty said that priests are can still fulfill other duties. He said: “The priests are obviously most welcome continue celebrating Masses, to work as chaplain in schools and hospitals, pastorally ministering in the parish but not carrying the burden of administration-it’s simply not fair."
Bishop Nulty added: "The reason I’m suggesting a two-year lead into this recommendation is that it will allow lay people to be trained up in all aspects of parish administration.”
This leads on to concern the training of lay people within the parish and Bishop Nulty is hopeful that the laypeople can be trained to a high standard.
Speaking to KildareNow, two lay people at St Conleth’s Parish in Newbridge, who did not wish to be named, said that they were “looking forward to the extra training, and hoping that it will allow more laypeople to help out in the church.”
Meanwhile, priests within the diocese will also be given the opportunity to go on a Sabbatical-which is where the priest may take a few days off to continue their studies or to rest, and this follows a review of former practices.
Bishop Nulty also addressed rumors that churches within the Kildare-Leighlin parish may have to close due to . He said: “It is not my intention to close churches, but may in some areas of the diocese there have to be a reappraisal of Mass times in conjunction with neighbouring parishes and cluster groups.”
The Kildare-Leighlin parish is also aiming to increase the number of priests from other countries, with Fr. Eugen Dragos arriving recently from Romania in August, while a second priest Fr. Marcelin Rideu is expected to arrive in the coming months.
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