Historic Irish synod backs lay-led liturgies

A proposal to develop and support lay-led liturgies has received strong support at the first synod to be held in Ireland in half a century.

A three-day diocesan synod in Limerick was attended by 400 delegates.

More than 90 per cent of delegates backed the lay-led liturgies proposal.

At the synod, Fr Eugene Duffy, a lecturer in theology and religious studies at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, recommended that occasional lay-led liturgies without priests should be introduced on weekdays.

He said this would be a way of preparing for the reality of priests not being available to every parish in the years ahead.

“If we can get used to having lay-led liturgy on weekdays first then people will begin to appreciate it, understand it, grow in their own acceptance of it and see the value of it,” he said.

“In the absence of a priest, that’s what they will have to do on a Sunday.

“We have to start by doing it on a weekday and then people become familiar with it.

“The foundational thing that people have to do is to gather on a Sunday to worship, however we do it.”

Fr Duffy also said that the Catholic Church can learn from the Church of Ireland in this regard.

“The Church of Ireland has readers who look after the liturgy on a Sunday if an ordained minister cannot be present.

“We are going to have to get used to this situation and have no option to prepare for it. Otherwise there is going to be a trauma some Sunday.”

Synod delegates also strongly backed a motion to establish a working group to explore and scope out how and where women can play a leadership role in the governance of the Church.


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