I wish to let you know of a change regarding Sunday collections in the coming weeks. On the weekend of 11 and 12 May, we will celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. This Sunday will continue to be an irreplaceable occasion to reflect on the importance of the ministerial priesthood and on prayer for vocations to the priesthood. This is an urgent call for the future of our diocese.
There will no longer be special collection on that day because as it is – with the smaller number of seminarians – the funds collected over the past years are now sufficient to cover such expenses for at least five years. The funds already collected will be devoted exclusively to the original intention and especially to the fostering of vocations. On the following weekend, 18/19 May, we will for the first time hold a new collection which will be called the Ministry Sunday Collection. This new annual collection will replace the Share Collection and will be devoted to support the building up of new forms of lay ministry in our parishes. The work of spreading the Gospel of Jesus in our changing religious culture will require more lay men and women working in various ways alongside our priests at the heart of parish communities.
We are already blessed with many people who give of themselves generously in various ministries in parishes. These include our Parish Pastoral Workers. We also count on an increasing number of parish catechists, attending to the faith development of young adults and young families and to the catechetical needs of the increasing number of children who do not attend Catholic schools. The Ministry Sunday Collection is about ensuring that we will have the people we need – men and women who will be to the fore in making our parishes vibrant faith communities into the future.
While many of those involved will be volunteers, we will have to equip and train leaders and provide facilities for formation. We want to work towards a situation where all parishes in this Archdiocese benefit from their gifts and expertise. The new collection is one-step in that process. In the second reading on Ministry Sunday our God says, ‘I am making all things new’. This is a powerful challenge to us to trust in God’s future. I hope that today’s appeal will inspire a generous response in your hearts for our future as vibrant communities of faith.
Archbishop of Dublin