From the TABLET
Amri, the representative association for religious and missionaries in Ireland, has launched a new five-year strategic plan charting the future for religious and missionary life at a time when congregations are becoming smaller and the number of members over age 70 is increasing. At a gathering in Tullamore almost 200 religious sisters, brothers and priests from leadership teams of 155 religious and missionary congregations unveiled the plan, “A future with hope”. Abbot Brendan Coffey OSB, president of Amri, said. “The plan is an exercise in discernment as we listened to the concerns, hopes and dreams for the future of religious and missionary life in Ireland.” The plan calls for the deepening of the culture of child safeguarding, ongoing commitment to healing services for survivors and to listen respectfully to survivors’ voices. David Rose, secretary general of AMRI, explained. It also has a strong focus on social justice with those on the margins of society and commits members to promoting care of creation.(four possible pix of the Amri conf by John McElroy in production.)
From The Irish Catholic
The work of Irish religious and missionaries in setting up schools, hospitals and more has been “taken for granted”, warned Fr Brendan Coffey OSB.
Fr Coffey, president of the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious in Ireland (AMRI), said the “wider story” of the good done in Ireland by religious isn’t being shown today.
Irish religious and missionaries “really did drag a whole swathe of the country out of poverty and illiteracy”, Fr Coffey told The Irish Catholic.
Services like hospitals, hospices and schools “wouldn’t have existed without them, they simply wouldn’t have been able to”, he added.
“A lot of work done over the years, particularly by women religious but also by Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers, has been taken for granted… people took them for granted.”
Fr Coffey’s comments come as AMRI launches its five-year plan to future-proof religious and missionary life in Ireland, at a time when congregations are shrinking.
As part of the plan, AMRI are launching a new communications strategy, with Fr Coffey admitting that “we’re not very good at promoting ourselves”.
“It’s not in the nature of the work” religious and missionaries do to seek publicity or a “pat on the back”, Fr Coffey said.
Read Ruadhan Jones’ more in-depth piece Irish missionaries and religious look to the future in our Comment & Analysis section.
New Book on Faith: In Search of Greater Glory in Sport –
Bishop of Killaloe, Fintan Monahan, is one of over twenty sports-loving people interviewed for a new book entitled Faith – In Search of Greater Glory in Sport, published by Gerard Gallagher. Bishop Fintan has a life-long interest in sports and is currently preparing for the upcoming Dublin city marathon on 30 October next.
Regarding immersing his personal faith into his love of sport, Bishop Fintan said, ‘You never lose the thrill of taking part. Even now, although older, the thrill is still huge for me … Sometimes, during a run I might pray. Hail Marys can keep me going.’
At the book launch Gerard Gallagher, who works with the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland, said, “the publication of Faith – In Search of Greater Glory in Sport has involved over twenty of Ireland’s great sports stars providing biographical accounts of the role that personal faith has had in their sporting life. Mould-breakers such as Katie Taylor, Josh Van der Flier, Sean Kelly, Johnny Murtagh and Ciaran Carey have reflected on faith in themselves, faith in their teammates, backroom team, and faith in a greater power that helps them reach their potential on the biggest stages of their sporting careers. This is a ‘must read’ book for anyone interested in sport, faith and personal growth.”