The Parish Pastoral Council – What Has Been Achieved?
The Dunhill and Fenor Parish Pastoral Council was established in December 2007. Parishioners will, no doubt, want to know what the council has been up to since then so we will attempt to satisfy their curiosity and interest by describing some of its achievements.
At the start progress was slow because it was necessary to set up the administrative structure of the council by electing the officers, deciding on the conduct, order, and timing of meetings, and so on. In order to learn more about the role of the pastoral council, six council members attended a workshop on pastoral councils in Clonmel in February 2008. Also, one member was delegated to attend meetings of the St. Otteran’s Pastoral Area, which is the “cluster” of seven local parishes. Members of the council continue to attend training sessions or information seminars as and when they occur.
Parish Newsletters and Parish Notices
The first visible sign of the working of the council was the new Pastoral Newsletter which was edited by Marie Crowley and Mary Murphy. The first edition appeared at Easter 2008 and was followed by further editions at Summer, Autumn, and Christmas. These are still available HERE on this web site. However, the council decided later to replace the quarterly newsletters by the weekly Parish Newsletters which are available HERE.
Marie Crowley was largely responsible for putting together the baptismal team. The team members were:
The team took part in a training session in St. John’s Pastoral Centre in October 2008 and began working in the parish in January 2009. Breda Halley was the team leader.
Ann Marie Queally and Rita Byrne of this parish were responsible for putting together the Child Protection policy for Dunhill and Fenor. This was presented to parishioners at an open meeting in the Dunhill Enterprise Centre on 14th May 2008 and subsequently forwarded to the bishop for his approval. It is now an important part of the way in which children are cared for and protected while involved in our parish. The agreed policy may be seen HERE on this web site.
The question of the number and the times of Masses in the parish was a topic for discussion at many pastoral council meetings. In order to hear the views of parishioners, an open parish assembly was held in the Dunhill Educational Centre on 28th October 2008 after which a decision was made to have only one Saturday Vigil Mass which was to alternate every six months between Dunhill and Fenor churches. The change was made on a trial basis to be reviewed after one year. On completion of the trial year, and after considering both the recorded attendances at the Saturday/Sunday Masses and the suggestions of parishioners, the Vigil Mass was left permanently in Fenor Church at the time of 6:30 p.m. The pastoral council continues to keep a watchful eye on Masses and Mass times.
Pastoral Council Constitution
As pastoral councils are properly constituted parish bodies, the Irish bishops require each council to have a constitution. The constitution of our pastoral council was drafted by the council and forwarded to Bishop Lee who gave it his approval in January 2009. The constitution may be viewed HERE.
The diocesan pastoral plan Building In Faith was published towards the end of 2008. By then our pastoral council was a year old and was feeling the need to plan its work rather than deal with whatever matters just happened to arise. A planning session facilitated by Fr. Liam Power and Sr. Antoinette Dilworth was held in the Dunhill Educational Centre over three evenings in January 2009. This resulted in a pastoral plan for the period January 2009 to January 2010. The plan was published in the Parish Newsletter of Summer 2009 and may be viewed HERE.
One of the tasks that emerged from the pastoral plan was the setting up of a list of who lives in the parish and where they live so that collection envelopes, notices, and any other literature may be delivered correctly and efficiently. Several meetings were held with the parish collectors to decide how to gather the information. A computer data base package was purchased to make the recording of the information easier, and much of the information has now been entered into the data base by the parish secretary.
Another task from the pastoral plan was the setting up of a bereavement group in the parish. The team members were:
This group was set up in April 2009, underwent training at St. John’s Pastoral Centre later the same month, and offers bereavement support to parishioners.
Several events were organised, largely by Fr. Murphy, to interest and involve young people. A successful evening of making and eating pancakes was held on Shrove Tuesday 2009 and 2010 with about twenty young people. Also, the Easter ceremonies were particularly marked by the presence and activities of scouts and young parishioners. In June 2009 a pre-exam Mass was celebrated but it was not well attended. The youth pilgrimage that was intended for summer 2009 was cancelled because of the terrible weather.
This is another task from the pastoral plan, intended to improve communications within and without the parish. The initial web site design was provided by Maria Murphy and the content of the web pages was provided by the communications team which is a sub-group of the pastoral council. The web site contains many pages with numerous documents that can be downloaded for inspection.
In February 2012 the web site was redesigned by Stephen de Roiste and the content was provided by the communications team. A major feature of the new web site and the catalyst for the new design was the information now provided about the Fenor cemetery. This includes headstone information and grave photographs which were gathered by the graveyard team. The data base created to make this information accessible to the public was also designed by Stephen de Roiste.
In April 2011 the parish Facebook Page went live. The Page is linked to the web site but independent of it. Perhaps the most important aspect of the Page is the way it allows parishioners and any other interested people to join in the life of the parish in ways that were not possible before. The Page is regularly accessed by several hundred people, some from as far away as the UK, the USA, Australia, and Cork. There is a large following in Dublin and a dedicated few who read the Page in Polish. Most of the readers are in the 25 to 45 age group and female readers number nearly twice as many as male readers.
Following an information evening attended by Mary Dee of the Diocesan Liturgy Commission, a parish liturgy group was set up. This group has been active in advising the parish administrator on the ceremonies at Christmas, Easter, and St. Patrick’s Day and members of the group participated in the ceremonies. The group has also been involved in processions, graveyard Masses, Eucharistic Adoration, and Benediction during Lent. The members of the group were:
A parish pilgrimage to Mount Melleray Abbey was organised by the pastoral council for 6th June 2010, the feast of Corpus Christi. The council also organised beautiful weather for the day so that everyone had a good time, even though a good time is not normally the top priority on a pilgrimage. You can read about it and check out the photo gallery HERE.
In June 2011 the parish pilgrimage was to Rome, Italy. You can read about it and check out the photo gallery HERE.
Information about defribrillators will be published shortly.