In recent years, parishes of the diocese have begun to work more closely together to build up the Kingdom of God in each area. This is also happening in other parts of Ireland. Our diocese has been subdivided into 16 groups of parishes and each group is called a “pastoral area”. Bishop Buckley formally established the pastoral areas over two years ago and appointed a priest coordinator to each area.

The parishes in our pastoral area are Bandon, Enniskeane, Innishannon, Kilbrittain and Murragh (11 churches). The Coordinator of our pastoral area is Fr. John Kingston, PP, Innishannon.

Each pastoral area also has a pastoral area coordinating group (PACG) which is made up of all the priests appointed to the area, a representative from each parish’s finance committee and two reps from each parish’s parish assembly or pastoral council. The PACG for our area has been meeting since last year and there are three parishioners who are members along with myself. The meetings are held in Bandon.

At the next meeting of the PACG, the principal item on the agenda is the pressing need to change the weekend Mass times for our area so that we can better arrange the Masses with the reduced number of priests in the area. We now have just five priests in the area and 22 Sunday Masses (include. vigils).

Changes will have to be made. It will probably mean fewer Masses in each parish and priests travelling to serve more than one parish. Please keep this challenging topic in your thoughts and prayers.