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SYNOD RESPONSES Feb 2022 Bohermeen, Cortown, Boyerstown

SYNOD RESPONSES TIDY SUMMARY Feb 2022           Bohermeen, Cortown, Boyerstown

DRAFT     # signifies these responses came up on a repeated basis

Question 1:  When you think of your experience of Church, what brings joy?      JOY

Mass and the Eucharist including

  • A good sermon  #
  • Music  #
  • Distribution of Communion to housebound
  • Mass on TV for sick and housebound  #


  • Baptisms, Confirmation, Marriage … key life events  #
  • Reconciliation … unique to the Catholic church …. meeting, forgiveness, relief.
  • Joy at funeral when you wake an old friend  #

Catholic celebrations and rituals

  • Christmas and Easter:  crib, music, lights……  #
  • Blessing of the graves  #
  • Retreat, Mission, Novena
  • Special times in the liturgical year – doing something special for Lent
  • Saints’ days – their inspiration
  • Benediction
  • Adoration
  • Pilgrimage
  • The traditions we loved, some of the old Latin hymns, they are the roots of our faith
  • Familiarity, habit  #

Christian / Catholic community

  • People, community, meeting others  #
  • Opportunity to help/participate  #
  • The Church as people, loving God and neighbour  #

Christian / Catholic learning

  • Scripture  #
  • Alpha  #

Personal relationship with God … Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit

  • Being touched by the Lord
  • After life
  • Sense of healing
  • God is someone to turn to, who will hear and will answer  #
  • Light in darkness no matter how small
  • Gift of prophecy
  • Able to offer up sufferings easier, because of the Cross

Relationship with priest

  • Joy of listening to someone close to God
  • The comfort a priest may offer in times of trouble and grief   #

Church buildings

  • Church is familiar, constant and universal – drop in anywhere in world  #
  • Sense of God’s presence, peace, time out, time for reflection  #



Question 2:  When you think of your experience of Church, what brings sadness/anxiety ?


Personal decline in faith and belief

  • Decline in religious education in schools  #
  • How to encourage religious practice among young people  #
  • Empty seats, the decline in numbers attending Mass and church events #
  • Many people no longer know how to behave in church; loss of sense of respect and reverence
  • Need for further education / training for lay people,  general lack of religious education among adults, too  #
  • Obstacles, such as sporting events which coincide with mass and other church events … get higher priority  #
  • Loss of basics like the Rosary
  • How do we pass on the Faith to the next generation?  #
  • For the middle-aged – indifference – don’t feel faith is important
  • How do we pass on the Faith to the next generation?  #
  • Schools not into religion  #
  • Drop out of second level students  #
  • People not attending / seeing importance of months minds.
  • Fear of going to Hell

Church organisation, structures, communications

  • The sexual abuse scandals  #
  • Cover up and poor handling of abuse scandals  #
  • Chilling effect of abuse on youth attendance – so not experiencing church community  #
  • Older non-attenders may have reasons for hostility to Church
  • Scandals used as an excuse  #
  • Clericalism / conservatism  #
  • Church has lagged behind the culture in promotion of gender, and all other forms, of equality  #
  • Inequality in distribution of wealth
  • Church very controlling – schools / ethos – indoctrination  #
  • Absence of women in clergy  #
  • Anxiety re future leadership  #
  • Sins of one affect many  #
  • Organisation, structure and communications outdated and not fit for purpose  #


  • Drive towards secularism  #
  • Media and cultural hostility:  “liberal agenda”:  where do we find the courage to speak up for our beliefs?  #
  • Lack of values / moral code  #
  • Breakdown in trust / communication – no answerability  #


  • Lack of vocations: the role of priest today is not attractive  #
  • Shortage of priests  #
  • Lack of availability of priests ( to help people )  #
  • “The harvest is great” – where will people turn for guidance, will enough rise to this challenge ?  #

Covid impact ( some permanent, some short term )

  • Trigger for loss of some mass attenders for ever – some through lack of faith, some through health concerns  #
  • Effect of Covid:  no altar servers, no offertory procession, ongoing need for caution…
  • The restrictions imposed by Covid saddened many – the masks, the roped-off seats…
  • Anxiety re shaking of hands  #


Question 3:  When you think of your experience of Church, what brings hope?       HOPE

Mass and Eucharist

  • Lay led liturgy of the Word  #
  • Lay led Eucharistic services with pre consecrated communion hosts  #
  • Modern music  #

Personal faith

  • People sharing their faith  #
  • Those who really care – the core group of worshippers/attenders
  • People who attend Church now are those who really want to be there
  • The enthusiasm of some young people, such as the Net teams  #
  • More influential lay people bringing people to faith
  • Sharing faith in parish in groups  #
  • Our day-to-day experience of Church needs to be “outside” the institution
  • That we, in our parish, are “doing our bit”  #

Priests, clergy, lay people

  • A route back for priests who have left ministry, might be found, to use their education / formation, at least at level of deacon  #
  • Married priests an extra resource  #
  • More participation by lay people  #
  • Permanent deacons  #
  • Women priests  #
  • Greater involvement of women, harnessing their skills, leadership, empathy  #

The Holy Spirit, Pope Francis and change

  • The work and example of Pope Francis  #
  • The synod process, the hope that bishops, priests and people will buy in to it, and that it will be successful  #
  • That the shortage of priests and the reduction in traditional service provision may create in people a need, a hunger and a desire to participate
  • Pope Francis’ efforts to make Vatican institutions more transparent  #
  • That Pope Francis started this process  #
  • That we are building a renewed Church which will be for all, and which will be strong and alive  #

Modern communications

  • The use of technology in keeping people connected and the desire people showed to stay in touch with the Mass during Covid restrictions  #
  • That R.T.E broadcast Mass daily during lockdown
  • That ( smaller / remote ) churches can be kept open by using technology  #

Christian / Catholic devotion

  • The inspiration of pilgrimage sites such as Knock and the participation of young people in those settings  #
  • Our Lady
  • Back to parish missions  #


Question 4:  How can we, as Catholics, create a real sense of welcome, belonging and inclusion in our parish community?

Mass and Eucharist

Current with priest

  • Hospitality after Mass  #
  • Well heated churches
  • Special provision for small children at family Masses  #
  • Return of Altar Servers will give children, and families, a bit more sense of inclusion
  • Keep the Covid-time welcome at the door  #
  • Invitation to participate in reading, choirs, singing, altar societies, hospitality etc.  #
  • Parish welcoming committees USA style
  • Bus service to collect people to come to Mass

Future without priest

  • Lay led Eucharistic services  #
  • Keep smaller churches open as a place of worship and less frequent celebrations  #

Parish Community services

  • Possible (carefully prepared) lay visitation of the sick  / housebound
  • Funeral committee to assist with preparations for funerals, if required  #
  • Prayer meetings / healing

Parish organisation and communications

  • Registration as members of parish
  • Broadly based parish council  #
  • Finance committee  #
  • Group to support parish work – some paid / some voluntary  #
  • Be open to all
  • More open communication about what groups are set up / working in our parish
  • Invitation to be involved in parish activities, or to express opinions, using modern methods of communication such as Google Forms  #
  • Use modern methods of communication to reach out to all, including other local organisations, such as sports clubs
  • Build togetherness  – meetings, services, etc. should be whole parish events, not splintered into three
  • Build on and follow up on these meetings – for example, have a quarterly parish forum where parishioners are invited to attend and discuss the direction of parish development