Derry’s faithful have been warned that big changes are coming in the Catholic Church – and that the current model of providing “Masses, funerals and baptisms on demand is not going to be possible in the future.”

In his Homily at the Mass of the Chrism on Holy Thursday, Derry’s new bishop, Dr. Donal McKeown, told parishioners and priests from the diocese that the church was now facing a period of being rebuilt entirely and “not just repainted or tinkered with.”

McKeown said the church could not continue to operate as it was and must now see itself as a missionary church – treating the island of Ireland as “a new continent to be conquered for Christ.”

“We will have to move away from a customer model where most of the lay faithful were periodic consumers of the religious services provided by often over-stretched clergy,” he said.

McKeown also used the Mass to hit out at so-called celebrity culture – saying that people no longer understand the language of the church.

“We live in a world that, in many places, no longer speaks or understands the language about God that we still use each day.

“The vocabulary of so many of our contemporaries is formed not by church, but by popular culture. The world, whose imagination is pickled in the language of silky shampoos, celebrities and salvation by self-indulgence, does not understand words like sin, salvation, sacrifice or sacrament,” the bishop said.

Derry Journal