Monday 16 December 2019

'We must begin now' - Dublin Archbishop announces 'significant' plans to change sacraments

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Gabija Gataveckaite

The Archbishop of Dublin has urged priests to not delay in implementing new sacramental changes which will see sacramental responsibility shift from Catholic schools to priests.

New sacramental changes will see the teaching of sacraments such as First Confession or Holy Communion shift from Catholic schools and their teachers to priests.

The changes have been under discussion since September 2018 and a sacraments review group was set up to "consult widely and make practical recommendations" on the future of the sacraments.

"We must remember too that more and more Catholic children today attend other than Catholic schools," wrote Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin in his letter to priests and parishes this week.

He said that the changes would not be immediate.

"The proposal is not something that will be accomplished overnight; it cannot however be put forever on the long finger. 

"We must begin now," he added.

He also added that the training of laypeople who are willing to teach the sacraments to children must begin "immediately".

"It will take some time to put in place an effective development of parish capacity to implement this initiative.

"We need however to begin immediately with the preparation and training of voluntary lay catechists and the development of resource materials," he wrote.

The plans were also put to parishes last year and 1,800 responded to an online survey.

Three assemblies were held within the Dublin diocese where outcomes of the survey were "presented and discussed".

These "significant" changes will see an implementation group set up early in 2020.

The group will focus on communicating with schools and parents, recruiting and training volunteers in parishes, as well as providing resources and finance.

This "new approach" to the sacraments will see parishes eventually responsible for all four sacraments, instead of schools.

"At the heart of the proposal is to stress the primary role of families in sacramental preparation," wrote the Archbishop.

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