TULLAMORE PARISH WINS CHURCH ORGANISATION OF THE YEAR
Award Presented by Reality Magazine
The following is the citation given upon presentation of award at the Emmaus Centre last weekend.
Tullamore Parish is a vibrant faith community located in the heart of the country, in County Offaly.
Last August, as they prepared to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Church of the Assumption in the town, the parish team led a 24 hour vigil of prayer and fasting for repentance and renewal in response to the scandal of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The theme was taken from the prophet Joel, “Come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping and mourning.”
The parish team wanted to acknowledge that they couldn't celebrate the 25th anniversary of the church without recognising the pain, disappointment, hurt and anger of so many people over the abuse scandal in the church and the way that scandal was dealt with by the church.
Many parishioners participated in the vigil, and their enthusiastic support was a sign that many Catholics are anxious to share in and are grateful for any acts of repentance by the church.
Though the parish sought no publicity for the event, the story was widely reported, and at least one other parish has done a similar vigil since then. The story offered hope in a time when news about the church was almost entirely negative.
But there is more to Tullamore parish than such one-off acts. This award is also in recognition of the work done by the parish over many years to build a vibrant faith community that involves literally hundreds of people in its life, liturgy and ministry. The quality of the liturgy, the many groups and organisations that are involved in different aspects of parish life and outreach, and a leadership team that believes in and promotes active participation by all the baptised show the way forward for our troubled church today. Tullamore parish is a model of faith in action that many other parishes could imitate.
For building a vibrant parish community and for its commitment to healing and reconciliation, we are delighted to present the award for Church Organisation of the Year to Tullamore Parish. We would like to invite Msgr. Seán Heaney, PP. to accept the award on behalf of the parish.