27 April 2017, The Tablet

Limerick’s day without Masses highlights priest shortage

All masses were replaced for one day by lay-led liturgies of the Word in parishes across the Diocese of Limerick for the first time this week. A diocesen spokesman said that the participation of all of the diocese’s priests in a full day’s training made the liturgies necessary.

Last year, Limerick’s diocesan synod recommended a greater involvement by the laity and over the last two months 100 people have been trained to hold a lay-led liturgy. Bishop Brendan Leahy said the fall-off in vocations was an opportunity to get greater lay involvement in the Church.

According to Catherine Kelly, general manager of Limerick Diocese, the liturgies are one of the many initiatives from last year’s synod. The diocese is offering people opportunities to have “greater involvement in the Church, greater leadership [and] greater ownership”, she said.

“The Church we all grew up with could be viewed as a train,” said Bishop Leahy, “a locomotive pulling many carriages behind it. That is not fit for purpose today. We all need to be engines of the Church, out there, working for others, doing good work”.

Limerick has 108 diocesan priests, 73 in active ministry and 35 retired.  

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