It is an understatement to claim that the church in Ireland has been going through a period of intense crisis over the past decade or more. Much attention has focused on the failures of those in leadership, in the priesthood and religious life. This is only part of the crisis that the church is now attempting to face. Meanwhile, another seismic shift has been occurring as vocations to priesthood and religious life have plummeted, with the result that the forms of pastoral ministry and parish life that were such stables of the Catholic Church in Ireland for generations will no longer be possible.
In the light of this change and in order to contribute positively to the necessary response that is called for, contributors from both home and abroad here offer their insights and encouragements for the future development of the parish, the basic and vital unit of the Christian community which is the church.
The contributors include Patrick Connolly, Eamonn Conway, Eugene Duffy, Eamonn Fitzgibbon, Liam Irwin, Nóirín Lynch, John Kernan, Desmond McCafferty, Dermot Meehan, Donal Murray, Brendan O’Keefe, Eoin O’Mahony, Catherine Swift, Thomas R. Whelan, Myriam Wijlens and Henk Witte.