THE IRISH Church faces large-scale parish closures within 20 years unless married former priests are permitted to serve again, a spokesman for the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) has warned. 

In his new book, Who Will Break Bread For Us?, Fr Brendan Hoban calls on the Church to rethink mandatory clerical celibacy. He also suggests it should invite some of the hundreds of men who left the priesthood, for reasons such as to marry, to return to ministry.  “At one stroke, they could help solve the eucharistic famine that is approaching us,” said Fr Hoban. He added that a parish in the west of Ireland has seven former priests among its parishioners and some of these would be very willing to serve again as priests even in a part-time capacity.

Pope FrancisThe Season of Easter is at an end. The Liturgy of the Hours concludes with three words on Pentecost Sunday evening  - “ So Eastertide ends”.

With Trinity Sunday and the coming weeks we enter that period, rather strangely called “Ordinary Time”, a space that takes us through the Summer and Autumn in the Northern hemisphere to the beginning of  the Season of Advent in the first days of Winter.

I have often wondered why we use the word ‘ordinary’, as though  these coming weeks are somehow humdrum and boring when they are in fact a time of freedom joy and adventure reflecting those days in the early Christian Communities when the Spirit fired the lives of the Apostles and their friends.

The dove, being released by Papa Francesco, is gaining again the freedom of the skies and there is immense joy on the face of Francis that he is giving the dove its liberty.

ACTA held its first national conference of diocesan reps at Hinsley Hall in Leeds on 6 and 7 May.  65 people gathered for a time of sharing, reflection and prayer. Please read the report below either as a Word document or as a text file

icon Hinsley Hall Conference Report 2013   icon Hinsley Hall Conference Report 2013

Fell Walker

Attraction, Longing, Desire,
Ownership, Power, Influence, Control;
Fickle and misleading signposts on all our journeys.
They read like place names on the tortured map
of the human heart.