Statement from Bishop John McAreavey

Newry Cathedral News

Report on the meeting of a Strategic Planning Group

On Friday, 23rd June I met a group of lay men and women from around the diocese, as well as a number of priests and a deacon of the diocese. I have asked them to reflect on the current state of personnel and organisation in our parishes and to propose solutions. They are aware of the unprecedented challenges facing the Church in our diocese at this time. It was clear that – given the age and number of our priests – there will be radical changes in parish arrangements; people are used to having Masses, for example, at a certain time and place, and it will not be possible to retain all the present arrangements.

The group will give a day a month to this work from September through to June 2018 and will prepare proposals for the future of the parishes in our diocese.

The tone of our meeting was hopeful and confident; those present believe that we will find ways of working together more effectively and drawing on the faith of all baptised people; they believe that a living Church will emerge, which will hand on to our families and our young people a faith that will fill them with the joy of the Gospel.

As the work of the group progresses, I will make sure that the priests. deacons and people of the diocese are kept fully informed.

If you have ideas about how the renewal of the diocese or if you have positive experiences of Church life and organisation in other places, please talk to your own priest or contact the diocesan office at Bishop’s House, 44 Armagh Road, Newry BT35 6PN or

I would ask you to keep the work of this group in your thoughts and prayers.

(Bishop) John McAreavey