Saturday, 17 October 2015

DOWN & CONOR - YEAR OF MERCY - MY INVITE


Dromantine
"MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER"

DOWN & CONNOR - YEAR OF MERCY - MY INVITE


"MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER"

On arriving home from my holiday on last Wednesday evening, October 14th, I was surprised to receive, among my post, a letter from the Diocese of Down and Connor inviting me to attend their Clergy Conference this weekend in preparation for Pope Francis' YEAR OF MERCY.

Con Boyle


Along with the above timetable for the conference I received a letter from the conference organising chairman - Father Con Boyle - parish priest of Randalstown:


I also received an Application Form to attend which I duly completed and sent off to the Conference Office - with a personal copy to Bishop Treanor:

"MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER"
I was surprised to receive the invitation but I reprimanded myself for being cynical and told myself: "This is Bishop Treanor, in the spirit of the Year of Mercy, reaching out to you Pat. Take it on face value".

Also the information / application came in that good quality cream envelope that all Bishop Treanor's correspondence arrives in:


Of course I was slightly afraid that the invite was a hoax and I did not want to turn up to Dromantine and be embarrassed by being refused entry. So as the conference date was so close I sent Bishop Treanor an email on Thursday:




"MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER"

15th October 2015

Dear Noel,

I was on holidays from October 3rd until late last night - Oct 14th.

On return my post contained information from Father Con Boyle on the forthcoming Clergy Conference in Dromantine - Oct 18th - 20th to prepare for the YEAR OF MERCY.

The envelope also contained an application form for me to complete if I wished to attend.

I would like to attend and have completed the form and sent it to the LIVING CHURCH office.

I have forwarded you a copy by post.

Can you confirm that this is a genuine invitation? 

I imagine the the YEAR OF MERCY does apply to us all - in whatever situation we are in?

Yours sincerely,

+ Pat Buckley 

This morning - Saturday 17th - at 8.03 am I received an email from the Chancellor ad interim Father Eugene O'Hagan which read:

Dear Pat, thanks for your email re the forthcoming Conference in Dromantine. I  have advised the Bishop of same and have, at his request,  checked with the Living Church office. 

The Living Church office issued postal invitations to the clergy of the diocese and I can confirm your name was not included in the list of invited clergy and the office has no record of a letter being sent to you. I can only reasonably conclude that the invitation you received is not genuine. 

I'm grateful to you Pat for checking with the Diocese about the correspondence you received and I trust this clarifies things for you. 

Sincerely

Eugene




"MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER"

So it looks as if the original invitation was a hoax! Therefore I am not to be included in Pope Francis' Year of Mercy - even though Father Austin McGirr will give a talk on welcoming those whose lifestyles make it difficult "for us to welcome them and show compassion".

"Those who make it difficult for us to welcome and show compassion"
"MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER"

68 comments:

  1. Before I'd finished reading this article I near choked on my fag when I saw Austin mcgirr leading a workshop on welcoming people . Surely this has to be a joke ? Austin mcgirr is as much welcoming and understanding as rose west is to babysitting. If had several dealings with the portstewart priest and he's a arrogant I'll mannered old goat who loves money first and last

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew that Austin was partial to viands but I did not know he was a money orientated priest.

      PP D&C

      Delete
    2. I did not know that Rose West did not like children!

      Delete
    3. Well if Mrs west ever gets released I doubt she will get a job as a nanny . She would make a good housekeeper for a parish priest . Would be a good match for brian darcy

      Delete
    4. I am a Catholic living in Portstewart and if I was in trouble I would never think of knocking on the door of the parochial house :-(

      Delete
  2. Is it true that Con Boyle's parochial house in Randalstown cost £650,000?

    Will he be taking in any Syrian immigrants?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Reading Con Boyle's letter made me laugh - priests needing a day of nourishment :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fr. Con isn't one we'd here much about - should it be taken that he is one of the more genuine priests of the diocese? Perhaps one of the few honest working priests of the diocese?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Interesting question! What's your take on Con Boyle, Pat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not really know him. If I had to guess I'd say that Con is a "safe", "head down", "don't rock the boat", "don't make any waves", "enjoy your nice parish", "smile at the bishop" man.

      In my 37 years in the diocese I have never had anyone come to me to complain about him - which I cannot say for very many others.

      Delete
  6. Doesnt want to attract any attention to himself in the big brand new home he has to himself! Is there any reason why a couple of priests couldnt be sharing such a big house? Would certainly save the diocese a few bob! I would say that I've known Con a few years but too be honest he's a bit of a recluse, private kind of man - but for a probable celibate man what else could be expected! Yes - "Safe", "no rocking the boat" seems to be the sort of life he's lead in the priesthood... Carry on, Con!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The diocese do not need to save "a few bob" on houses for the bishop or the clergy.

      A diocesan priest who has visited Con's house told it it is the last word in everything - even /especially - state of the art electrics.

      A recluse or a "Dark Horse"?

      Delete
  7. Cannot say I disagree much with what has been said so far. Con is a distant kind of character, not one to reach out to people/parishioners - Seems to be too busy for them and puts himself on that clerical pedestal which doesn't make him the most approachable!.

    ReplyDelete
  8. As a parishioner of Randalstown I absolutely agree. Fr. Boyle likes the finer things in life - expensive gadgets, great house, nice car, expensive holidays, only the very best vestments. Seems to me that he may of been happier as a bank manager than a priest. He doest exactly relate the very best to his parishioners, too distant, takes himself too seriously - needs to smell more like his sheep.
    Randalstown Parishioner.

    ReplyDelete
  9. In fairness to priests like fr con it's not that easy for genuine priests to approach or mix with parishioners. The jack the lad priests have painted them all the one colour . There's a lot of good guys in d&c but there's a lot of plonkers and a bishop who dusnt care and it ruins things for everyone . Never thought I'd be stickin up for priests but just goes to show god dus work in mysterious ways :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I disagree. I think that people are (still) very open to welcome priests into their homes, families, relationships etc.

    I think the problem is with priests being stand offish and not engaging.

    Sadly far too few priests these days are happy to have the smell of the sheep about them.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I know Fr. Con, I'm even quite fond of him but unfortunately I don't feel like I actually do know him. Although I see/ talk alot less with him now, he was always quite stand-offish. I don't know if this is a characteristic of the celibate personality but for the good of the faith, it shouldn't be. Priests need to be personally engaging and this hasnt been my experience unfortunately, at least with Fr. Con. Its a real pity because my own faith might be in better shape had I related to him better. I don't believe Fr. Con is by any means a bad person - unfortunately with the reputation of many other priests, men like him are given a bad name.
    St Mac Nissis Parishioner, Randalstown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it not said by the church that priests renounce love and intimacy with one person to offer all that love and intimacy to all / others.

      Withdrawing from others / parishioners seems to be a contradiction of that teaching?

      Delete
    2. Maybe Bishop Treanor will be able to show his priests in Dromantine how to be close and loving to others?

      Priest of D&C who will be in Dromantine.

      Delete
    3. Fr. Somehow I dont think that Captain distant (aka +Treanor) will be able to teach you all anything in this area...

      Delete
    4. Maybe Noel might start giving individual and group hugs for the Year of Mercy?

      Delete
  12. True, Pat. I absolutely agree with you. Such contradictions is what has driven me away from the church - if only they realised the damage they do or could help others avoid. I cannot help but wonder if celibacy was done away with, such issues could be easily avoided? No?
    St Mac Nissis Parishioner, Randalstown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too many priests are mentally and emotionally "handicapped". They never grew up. They are "afraid" of people and being their real selves.

      They are like teachers who feel they must control the classroom by being strict and distant.

      How can emotional invalids lead people to spiritual, emotional and human wholeness?

      Delete
  13. Thought your hand-written invitation envelope looked very unprofessional - first giveaway. Who do you think sent you this Pat? Obviously someone who would have loved your input at the event!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or a priest who would have liked to witness the discomfort of others at my arrival 😃

      Delete
  14. Who would be the "others"?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dear Pat,
    I sent you the invitation /itinerary/ booking form for Dromantine. I was rather hoping you would attend, because I genuinely think you could have contributed a lot to the discussions.
    I am sorry you will not be there.

    Priest of Down & Connor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I appreciate your thought pattern greatly.

      I am sill happy and willing to go.

      Do you not think I would be turned away after an unpleasant scene?

      Delete
  16. Perhaps Fr could voice some points for you Pat?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Pat,
    May I ask you what topics you might have wished to "throw in the ring" at the Mon 8pm 'Conversation with Bishop Treanor slot' ?

    D&C Cleric.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would suggest that we think, talk and act about God's mercy in the context of the following people:

      The divorced and remarried.

      Those banned from Communion.

      The Gay Community.

      Those Catholics with conscience about contraception.


      Women who have had terminations.

      Priests with various struggles.

      All "outcasts" .

      Delete
    2. Would like to add "asshole priests" to that list.
      Notice Noel has only designated an hour for conversations, not much time to talk about anything of any importance - polite small talk only.

      Delete
  18. In that order, Pat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not at all. In any order at all - once EVERYONE is included :-)

      Delete
  19. I see the conversation with Bishop Noel is AFTER drink refreshments - hopefully a little liquid courage will loosen their tongues and get them to stand up for themselves to their bishop! Likely ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure :-( I think the real drinking among the priest will happen when Noel retires to his cell with a high scorer from Bordeaux or Pomerol.

      Delete
  20. Or perhaps things will get a little friendly in the hotel rooms that night.... hehe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dromantine is not a hotel. It is a Religious House - a nice one at that.

      Delete
  21. Do these clerics believe in either eternity or mercy - if they are not able to spend 36 hours with Pat Buckley in Dromantine.

    How will they cope with sharing Heaven with you for eternity ?

    Catholic School Principal

    ReplyDelete
  22. Bishop Pat,

    As priests I'm sure they believe in an eternal heaven. How will they cope with u there for an eternity if they cannot accept you in their company for 48 hours?

    Mind boggles

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are the second to ask that theological question.

      Maybe they are convinced that they will be in Heaven and I will not?

      Whatever you bind on earth ...........

      Delete
  23. Pat,
    Imagine if you went to the conference and some of the Clergy found they had a lot in common with you, and you were good craic ?
    What would + NT do then ?

    LUX.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lux, If I went to the conference SOME of the clergy WOULD find that they had a lot in common with me and WOULD find me very good craic.

      They would realise that I was NOT the Big Bad Wolf that they have been told I am.

      What would NT do?

      I think he might huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down.

      And the clergy would be afraid.

      Delete
  24. Pat, the conversations with +Noel will be tame, twee affairs with the usual "yes men" and goodie two shoes boys on their best behaviour asking banal questions. All the individuals who are always threating that they are going to say this and going to say that will sit mute! Not a word out of them. Everybody will be walking on eggshells and won't wish to be seen as boat rockers !! I've seen it so so often.
    D+C Priest

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know :-( How sad. How pathetic. How un Christ like.

      Delete
  25. Here are a few questions for Bishop Noel to get the ball rolling during the fireside chat tomorrow evening:

    Bishop Noel, how do you manage to keep your hair looking so nice? Do you use L'Oreal?

    Bishop Noel, were there many cows around when you were growing up in Tyholland?

    Bishop Noel, which of the Bronte sisters is your favourite - Charlotte or Emily?

    Bishop Noel, what do you think of this handkerchief that I embroidered? Took me ages! Would you like me to do you one?

    Bishop Noel, such a nice name that - Noel. Does it make you think of Christmas all year round?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Why do priests like up Bishop Trainers ass? With the way he treats his priests, does it do them any good? What kind of life is it to be a bunch of yes men? No backbone!

    ReplyDelete
  27. It is a sad and indeed pathetic situation when men,supposedly mature, have got to suppress their personal truths, deny their true feelings and pretend to be enjoying an artificially contrived atmosphere. They say the truth will set you free. Well there won't be much freedom of spirit or expression at that gathering. Why doesnt some priest get up and ask Noel "Can I get a housekeeper who turns me on and we can live openly as a couple" Perhaps somebody else could ask " Why can't I have a salary of £60k pa with a new car every three years". Another question which could and should be asked is " Would the diocese look unfavourably on me if I " came out" and openly expressed my love for my secret partner?"
    Every one of those questions has a relevance to many D+C clergy. Has anybody got the balls?
    Dalriada Dick

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would any priest need to ask if they can have a housekeeper that turns them on - Noel's actions - or rather lack of - has already answered this one for them.

      Delete
  28. Bishop Treanor treats his priests just fine - those priests who do their work. I am very happy with him He's a gentleman.
    Priest D and C.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also he has great hair... just saying.

      Delete
  29. My sis who lives in Randalstown says that Fr Boyle is a quiet man and a nice man. She's normally quite a good judge of people.

    ReplyDelete
  30. The clergy contributor at 17.03 must be one of the fortunate ones who has not had a problem or needing a bit of support.

    ReplyDelete
  31. At our last meeting in Dromantine one of my fellow priests did challenge Bishop Treanor on his leadership. This became known as the CARRYDUFF QUESTION.

    Will the Carryduff Question be aired again this time?

    PP D&C

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The "Carryduff Question" was NOT a challenge to the Bishop's leadership. It was technically about the re-structuring of Parishes - a reality we all have to face whether we like it or not.

      Delete
  32. In all my dealings with Bishop Noel I have always found him to be very kind and helpful.
    Priest, D&C.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Pat, why would you have been invited to Dromantine since you are not a priest of Down and Connor nor, by your own admission, a "Roman" Catholic priest?

    There are two explanations for the invite methinks:
    (a) a colour photo-copy was made by a mischief maker and it looked like the real thing; or
    (b) someone with access to the Living Church Office, who could get their mitts on a genuine invite, is making mischief.

    Anyway, the genuine invites were not on handwritten-addressed envelopes - so that was an immediate give-a-way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The three documents inside the envelope were original. The envelope was not.

      I just learned this afternoon which D&C priest sent it to me.

      Obviously my lips are sealed.

      Delete
  34. Con sent it didn't he

    ReplyDelete
  35. Or perhaps it was Timmy ??

    ReplyDelete
  36. I couldn't say that this goes for all D&C priests but I think what was said about Fr. Con was unfair! He's quiet, sort of anyway - catch him on a one-to one and you get to know him a little better! In my experience he's usually very happy to help and responds to people who reach out to him... eventually :) Fr. Con got picked on a little harshly here - in my experience of him, he's got a gentle, quiet and caring way about him... He goes about quietly and unseen doing his fathers business, I believe. I've struggled with faith over the past while but something about HIS witness encourages me! A priest shouldn't have to personify every characteristic of God... Fr.Con personifies a gentle and compassionate characteristic of God and sure he has his struggles like everyone else! Also says a good homily!
    Young observer D&C

    ReplyDelete
  37. Herr Doktor Whooo Kennedy sent it and Fraulein Nigella van Klimptenhoefen posted it for him because he's afraid to walk to the top of Albert St in case somebody takes a run at him!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I hope the "boys" up in Dromantine had a restful sleep. They can now spend the day learning to be merciful.

    LUX.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you "learn" to be merciful - especially in 40 hours?

      Delete
  39. MourneManMichael19 October 2015 at 16:24

    Would it be classed as a 'miracle' if +Trainor were to ask the troops for opinions as to what he should be doing to plan for the inevitable absence of priests in Ireland in 20 years time?
    FR Brendan Hoban, speaking on behalf o the Association of Catholic Priests, says that the numbers are so obvious that a blind man can see it:......."there is a form of elder abuse in the church where priests are retiring at 75, but pressure is put on them to continure to say Mass and provide services, .....this nightmare in rural Ireland provides a division between priests and bishops on tackling the issue, and the Irish church is in denial about it at the highest level"
    The ACP suggests ordination of proven men of worth, including married men and former priests who left the priesthood, and the ordination of women as deacons.
    Discuss: a) the liklihood of +Trainor adopting this approach.
    b) the ACP views.
    MMM

    ReplyDelete
  40. Shower of shitehawks. Looks like you are a bit of an auld proddie like meself after all! That lot are their own worst enemies

    ReplyDelete