On Sunday, 21st January, Hilda Connolly was commissioned as the new Diocesan Youth Officer in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross. The commissioning by the Bishop, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, took place at a special Service in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork. People from all over the Diocese, including large numbers of young people, youth workers, clergy and readers, were present and took part.
Hilda Connolly lives in Clonakilty, County Cork, with her husband, Kevin, and they have two sons. Hilda says:
Being surrounded by males can be very chaotic and crazy at times but it’s a lovely change having come from a family of 4 sisters and 1 brother! For the past 3 years, I have had the pleasure of being part of our young people’s lives as their Youth Development Officer in West Cork on a part time basis. I also, worked alongside the Cork Diocesan Youth Council on many events throughout the three years. This enabled me to build up a good relationship with the youth and to discover what their needs were. It has been and very fulfilling and amazing time.
In January 2018, I was appointed to a full time position as Diocesan Youth Officer for Cork, Cloyne and Ross. Because of my previous role I have made great connections with clergy, youth leaders, parents and young people which will hopefully help me to carry out what I hope to achieve in this new post.
Preaching at the Service, the Bishop emphasised that the appointment of a youth officer does not let everyone else in the Diocese ‘off the hook’ in relation to youth work. ‘ He said:
In commissioning Hilda for this work as Diocesan Youth Officer we are not handing over responsibility for all youth work to her. She is not to be a dumping ground for our fears, laziness, or inadequacies, such as they may or may not be, in the area of youth work. Her appointment and commissioning does not let us all off the hook: me as Bishop, clergy and lay people in parishes, chaplaincies and institutions throughout the Diocese.
Hilda is not the youth worker for every parish to do for you what you should be doing yourselves. And that begs a question of all of us; what are we doing ourselves? What are you doing in your neck of the words? What are we investing in terms of time and resources in youth work?
During the Service, readings and prayers were read by young people from the Diocese. Representatives of the Cork Diocesan Youth Council brought forward symbols of youth ministry and presented them to Hilda as part of her commissioning: a Bible, a cross, a map of the Diocese, the Cork Diocesan Youth Council logo, an emblem of our times (a mobile phone), and the Diocesan report Charting a Future with Confidence.
All the photos will be posted on this NewsBlog in due course.