The Institute aims to enable the fulfilment of a new vision for the Church in Ireland to meet the current challenges it faces. The Institute would help to build a local Church which is a community of communities, and enable the Church in Ireland to exercise its pastoral and social mission of promoting the Kingdom of God. Increasingly pastoral ministry in Ireland occurs within a missionary context. This require that we move from maintenance to mission and from transactional leadership to transformational leadership.
The Institute aims to translate the theology of the Second Vatican Council into pastoral practice, thus promoting a Church in which all can take their appropriate role in the local faith community.
The Institute operates at the interface between the academic world and the pastoral reality on the ground in our parishes and local communities. It needs to bring each into dialogue and must not become over attached to either side – if it does it will either become removed and irrelevant or fail to provide new insights and current fresh thinking. Thus it is an academic Institution with a missionary role. The Irish Institute for Pastoral Studies needs to fulfil its academic responsibility in such a way that it does not dominate or replace local community groups and leadership, but supports, resources and informs practise through rigorous research and contemporary theological formation. In this way, the Institute wishes to ensure that pastoral ministry is not collapsed into the academic but neither must the busyness and demands of pastoral ministry be allowed to compromise the academic standard. The Institute seeks to provide a sound theological foundation to pastoral practice by teaching, researching and reflecting on examples of best practise. Pastoral Ministry needs to be informed and animated by sound theology.
The Institute will seek to avail of opportunities to work in partnership with the wider community becoming an active partner and contributor to the work of dioceses and parishes. Pope Francis has encouraged us in Evangelii Gaudium to first listen before speaking and to learn and use the language of the people when communicating the Gospel. The Institute for Pastoral Studies needs to be able to translate theological language into a language easily understood by the practitioners.