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Parishes in Transition
Edited by Eugene Duffy
This collection of essays arises from a conference held in Limerick in 2008. While written for and from an Irish Catholic perspective, Christians in these Islands, and elsewhere, will be encouraged by the discussion and insights offered for the development of congregations.
Thirteen chapters cover the historical setting, geographical, demographic, social and economic factors, experiences of Parishes in Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands, what is being done and is being proposed about Parochial organisation, and leadership.
'Clustering of Parishes', under various 'models, is seen as the way forward, a cluster being defined as 'a group of parishes committed to the long term relationship of collaboration to plan and provide for the spiritual, sacramental and pastoral needs of their respective communities.' (p. 93); this sixth chapter, on 'Practice and Theology', underpins the authors' thesis.
The tone is 'upbeat', the contributors wishing to strengthen rather than diminish the life of Christian communities. Lay members of Parishes are given responsibilities, while flexibility and appropriate responses to different situations are required to replace the forms of pastoral ministry and Parish life which are no longer possible, or, sometimes, desirable. An excellent contribution to the continuing search for effective Parish ministry.
Reviewer: J.Nicholas Latham (21/02/11)