Irish bishops consider allowing lay people to lead mass

Catholic Bishops’ Conference addressed how to deal with shortage of priests in Ireland.

In reaction to the dwindling number of priests in Ireland, Catholic bishops are weighing the possibility of allowing lay people to lead celebrations of worship during the weekdays.

Ireland has been facing a decline in clergy in recent years, with predictions that the country could lose two-thirds of its priests by the year 2028.

At their annual summer meeting, held this past week at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference discussed how best to “respond appropriately to this pastoral need,” a statement read.

Among the guidelines and resources proposed, the bishops said they “welcomed the conversations being conducted by the Council for Liturgy of the Bishops’ Conference on liturgy on weekdays when the celebration of Mass is not possible.”

This includes the possibility that lay people could lead celebrations of the liturgy for weekday masses.

In advance of the family-focused Extraordinary Synod of Bishops Pope Francis has called for October, the bishops also announced that they would be holding a special conference on family and marriage today, Saturday June 14, at Clonliffe College in Dublin. Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin is the keynote speaker.