Gathering 2014

Diocese of Elphin

Parish Development & Renewal Gathering

“The Joy of the Gospel”
Does Pope Francis have a game plan?

St. Joseph’s Hall & Abbey Community College,
Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
9.30 .m. -
4.15 p.m.
October 18th, 2014.

Parking available at Abbey Community College


Come and be encouraged and challenged.
Come and enjoy participating in Fr. Eamonn’s seminar.
Come and join in the conversations at the thought-provoking and informative workshops.
Come and encourage a friend or family member to come with you.
Come for part of the day if you cannot come for it all.
Come and be blessed.

               + Kevin Doran
                   Bishop of Elphin



09.30:   Registration / Tea & Coffee in St. Joseph’s Hall

09.45: Word of Welcome & Morning Prayer led by Bishop Kevin

10.00: Pope Francis: re-imagining the Mission of the Church
            - a seminar with Rev. Prof. Eamonn Conway (more information below)

12.05: Bishop Kevin’s Address

12.20: Introduction to Workshops  (more informaton below)
12.30: Lunch (Soup & sandwiches) in Abbey Community College

01.30 pm: Afternoon Workshops in Abbey Community College (1st Choice)

02.30 pm: Afternoon Workshops in Abbey Community College  (2
nd Choice)

03.30 pm: Tea / Coffee

03.40 pm   A final reflection
                 -  Rev. Prof. Eamonn Conway

04.00 pm: Word of Appreciation, Evening Prayer & Blessing led by Bishop Kevin

MORNING SEMINAR (10 - 12 noon)

For this part of the day participants will be invited to sit in groups
and to engage from time to time with questions  that Fr. Eamonn will pose.

Pope Francis:  Re-imagining the Mission of the Church
with Rev. Prof.  Eamonn Conway

Fr. Eamonn Conway is a priest of the Tuam diocese and Professor of Catholic Theology at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Hisrecent publications include Priesthood Today: Ministry in a Changing Church, Dublin: Veritas 2013, and Blueprint for the Church: An Introduction to The Joy of the Gospel, to be published by The Irish Catholic in October 2014. 

It is fifty years since bishops from all over the world gathered and drew up a ‘charter’ for communicating the unchanging message of the Gospel in a language and manner that would touch our hearts and minds and call us to conversion (Vatican II).  In the intervening period, there have been many calls for Church renewal.

Pope Francis’s The Joy of the Gospel, published in 2013, is among the most encouraging and challenging.  Here we get to see the direction in which Pope Francis wishes to lead the Church. Here we encounter the open, straightforward and ‘down to earth’ style of communication that has made The Joy of the Gospel an international bestseller.

This truly remarkable and radical document ranges widely and challenges complacency at every level. It offers us powerful challenges, the key one being to transpose all our pastoral activity into "a missionary key".    This seminar will examine what Pope Francis means by this, and its implications for us personally as well as for our local Church.


AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS (1.30 – 2.30 pm & 2.30 – 3.30 pm)

All workshops will invite participants into conversations relating with the workshop titles.

Parish Pastoral Councils: from potential to purpose.

A workshop in two parts lead by Colette Furlong, Catechist to the cluster of parishes in Sligo. Part one will look briefly at the expectations and challenges faced by the Parish Pastoral Council, and will include the insights and experience of members of PPCs in the Sligo Parishes Cluster, from both urban and rural parish perspectives. Part two will be a participative conversation looking at the potential and purpose of the PPC now and into the future.

How do Parishes pray when they do not have a celebration of Mass?   Exploring weekday Liturgy.
As more priests retire the pattern of daily worship in some parishes has already begun to adapt to this change. During the first part Fr. John Coughlan (Boyle) and Fr. John McManus SPS (Kilgefin) will listen to the current experience of participants in the workshop. The second part will be a related input, sharing what is happening at a national level. Finally, the third part will be another listening moment, sharing what we have learned about possible best practice in our own communities.

Fostering Faith in the Parish: lessons from the Roscommon cluster of parishes
During the first part of this workshop a panel of people from Roscommon, led by Deacon Seamus Talbot, will reflect on how they have been encouraging and supporting faith development in their parishes in recent years. The second part will be an open conversation involving all workshop participants, i.e. on fostering faith in our parishes today

Handing on faith to the next generation: exploring practical ways that we can hand on the faith
During this workshop Frank McGuinness, the Elphin diocese’s Director of Youth Ministry and Safeguarding Children, and team will offer insight on how parishes may and are engaging with young people. The workshop will include input on the Pope John Paul II Awards ( that were completed by 122 teenagers and young adults in the Elphin Diocese last year.

Post-Primary Religious Education: An introduction to the Junior Certificate programme (syllabus)
Many of us have no idea what the aims and content of the Department of Education and Skills Post-Primary Religious Education programme are. Through this workshop Dermot Ryan, Religious Education Teacher in Coola Post-Primary School, will offer a succinct introduction, respond to participants’ questions and engage with participants’ insights. This workshop has been included by way of contributing to parents’ and Parish Pastoral Council members’ understanding of Religious Education at Post-Primary level. A brief introduction to a diocesan consultation with Post-Primary School Communities will also be offered.


Owing to generous donations from the Knights of St. Columbanus and the Diocese of Elphin, the goodwill of Conference Volunteers and Workshop Providers many costs and anticipated needs have been met.

The organisers, nonetheless, would appreciate a contribution of €8.00 from each participant toward the cost of lunch (soup and sandwiches) and tea-breaks.  Contributions will be taken up during registration.


On the day but please advise Justin that you are coming  before Thursday October 16th so provision can be made for you.

Justin Harkin
Pastoral Development Office,
Church Grounds,
Co. Roscommon.
Mobile: 087 6171526
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Answering machine: 071 9635960.


Please contact Justin Harkin (contact details above).

Page uploaded:  Sept. 7th 2014

Adult Studies in Catechism of the Catholic Church

Pope John Paul II's publication of The Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992 - the first such compendium of Catholic Teaching in 400 years - offers adults a wonderful opportunity to update their knowledge and to deepen their understanding of the Faith.

More recently the Maryvale Institute ( increased the accessability of the riches of  this Catechism by developing an Adult Studies in the Catechism course.  This course supports study of the Catechism in a planned and systematic way by groups of interested persons, supported by a facilitator and spiritual director.

In September 2012 the Maryvale Institute kindly granted permission to the Diocese of Elphin and other Irish dioceses to make this course available as part of  the dioceses' Adult Faith Formation programmes.

Currently the course in running in Sligo, Boyle and Roscommon.  It can also be made  available in other centres, subject to a commitment by twenty interested adults.

Persons interested in finding out more or placing their name on a waiting list for this course are encouraged to contact:

Justin Harkin
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Mobile: 087 6171526

Last updated:  June 16th 2014.


2014 / 2015 Time-table

Preparation for First Communion

Do this in Memory Programme

Do this in Memory is a resource developed in the dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin and the diocese of Ossory in 2002.  It is a resource that has been used by parishes to assist in the preparation of children for First Holy Communion.  It is a parish based programme and recognises First Communion preparation as the responsibility of the home, school and parish working together.  This preparation begins at the commencement of the school year.

b-egan-chalice-1634.205The feedback from those who have been involved in the programme is very positive and its success is the result of the enthusiasm of the Priest and parents of the First Communion children.  This group of co-ordinating parents meet once a month for nine months, from September to May. A core aim of the programme is to make Sunday Mass an experience of welcome, inclusion and belonging for children and their parents and a place where children pray with the community and experience people praying.  It also gives parents an opportunity to exercise ministry in the parish.  The interested parents appreciate the home dimension, particularly the suggestions offered to them to support faith deelopment in the home.  So many talents in parents were tapped into which otherwise would remain hidden eg reading at the Mass, writing the Prayers of the Faithful, creating a Sacred Space in the church etc.  The children love the little magazine they receive every Sunday "The Grape Vine".  The excellent guidelines provided in the manual to priests and co-ordinating parents makes the preparation easy. Children are also encouraged to make a little Sacred Space at home using the candle they received at their first Mass and to pray each evening.

Teachers have been very positive about the programme as it complements the great work being done in the classroom and helps the children to learn about the Mass.  They sense they are being supported by Priest and parish as they lead children to God.  Priests also have acknowledged the benefits of the programme as it gives them an opportunity to get to know the parents in a more personal way.

The Parish Catechist

In his Pentecost Pastoral Letter (2008) Bishop Jones gives thanks for greater lay involvement in the life of every parish in recent decades. He also suggests that tomorrow’s Church will benefit from having permanent deacons and parish catechists who can enthusiastically present the Christian life as a response to Christ’s invitation to follow him. Goodwill on its own, he reminds us, can achieve very little.

Parishes need to compliment the efforts of families and Catholic schools in bringing young people to a mature and sustaining faith. There is also a great need, he suggests, to support adults at various stages of life to deepen their faith through creative, life-giving and adult-learning friendly opportunities. With this in mind he asks for prayers that interested women and men will explore and pursue the ministry of Parish Catechist. He also invites such persons to become familiar with the materials provided through this web site and to approach their Parish Priests.

These Documents are in Adobe acrobat format pdf, you will need Adobe acrobat reader installed to view these documents. Click here to download Acrobat reader for free


Copyright 2000-2015 Diocese of Elphin - Designed and developed by GetOnline