Thursday, June 21, 2018

Reforming to Evangelise

REFORMING TO EVANGELISE: Archbishop Leo Cushley says the overriding purpose of reforming the network of parishes across the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh is to help introduce more and more people to Jesus Christ, the love of God incarnate.“The road to reform has been long but, I believe, very worthwhile with over 7,000 of our people involving themselves in approximately 120 public meetings over two years and all with one aim: How to better enable our parishes to help our families, friends and local communities come to know, love and live in relationship with the person of Jesus Christ, especially in a Sunday Eucharist-centred way,” said Archbishop Cushley upon Pentecost Sunday, 20 May.

The comments come on the weekend when many parishes across the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh are learning the details of Archbishop’s proposal for the future of their community with bespoke letters from Archbishop Cushley being read at each Sunday Mass.

In February of this year, the Archbishop revealed that he had rejected the suggestion of extensive church closures following two years of widespread consultation among the clergy and lay faithful of the Archdiocese explaining that “If you choose to consult with parishioners and priests, then you have to listen to what they are saying.”

Instead, the consensus in most areas seemed to centre around merging existing parishes in order to pool together both talent and resources into larger, more sustainable Christian communities that are fit for the purpose of evangelising their locality, while keeping nearly all church buildings open.

It is this option that is most likely to make up the majority of proposals to the 109 parish communities that make up the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Meanwhile, over a third of all parishes are expected to be unaffected by any change.

“As you know, we need parishes that have sufficient numbers of people, priests and resources to undertake a new evangelisation – I believe these proposals will take us closer to that end,” added the Archbishop, 20 May.

The process of informing parishes of the Archbishop Cushley’s proposal for each area will continue over the coming weeks. Every parish community will then have a month in which to respond to Archbishop’s suggestion before a final decision is taken this summer.