In light of the recent announcement by Bishop Fintan of the diocesan changes and the significance for Odhran Pastoral Area, we as a group of parishes are being asked to adapt to the ever-changing challenges facing us. The priests of Odhran Pastoral Area met and discussed the current situation. The decision of the meeting was to fulfil the existing schedule of Masses in each parish for a period up to the beginning of Advent (28 November). In the meantime, we are being asked to make ourselves aware of the challenges facing us, pray that we be guided by the Holy Spirit in discerning the current situation and deciding as a Pastoral Area as to what is the achievable goal in our living out of our baptismal calling as a Christian community.
This period will be an opportunity for each parish Pastoral Council and the Odhran Area Pastoral Council to meet and discuss the situation. It is only through prayer, discernment and discussion that we will reach our agreed approach. The reason we will have to decide by the end of November is that in fulfilling the current Mass schedule there is no scope for a priest being unavailable for the schedule. This means that in the event of illness, holiday or other commitments the current schedule is not possible to fulfil. We need, therefore, to construct a schedule that allows for all such eventualities. The time ahead is valuable in that it allows us as a Pastoral Area to work together and discern where the Holy Spirit is leading us. We are all invited to pray that we be given the gift of discernment and courage to face the future.
Note: From August 2021, three priests will be allocated to minister in Nenagh, Templederry, Youghalarra (comprising Newtown and Ballywilliam) and Portroe parishes.