FEEDBACK ON THE FIRST FORMAL PROPOSAL FOR THE
RENEWAL AND RESTRUCTURING OF OUR DIOCESE FROM ENGLISH MARTYRS DANBURY AND HOLY
TRINITY SOUTH WOOODHAM FERRERS.
following is based on 3 Parish Meetings, where there was a presentation
followed by discussion. Additional discussion took place with small groups and
individuals and the opportunity was provided to respond by email. In all 50
parishioners responded out of 300 regular Mass attenders.
the key conclusion was that such a document is entirely necessary bearing in
mind the reality of the dwindling supply of priests and the need to plan for a
future that reflects this, at the same time we need to do it in such a way as
to promote our Faith, not only with the existing Catholic Community but also to
reach out beyond.
parishioner wondered if a similar exercise was being carried out in all the
Diocese of England and Wales. Are there a similar shortage of priests elsewhere
in the country and if there is a surplus elsewhere can they be moved to where
there is a need?
the parameters of our Catholic Faith, parishioners felt that it made the best
of a difficult situation.
is going to be feasible as far as Services are concerned if the priest is not
available? In Danbury our experience of Eucharistic Services and laity led
Stations of the Cross and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament has been good.
realised that as the Parish Priests workload increases the Laity are going to
have to lead more Services and play a more important part in the organisation
of the Parish. The Priest must devote his time to saying Mass, providing the
additional Sacramental and pastoral provision that requires a Priest and
overseeing the increased lay activities in the whole Parish. There is a need
for much more thorough training of the Laity, which could be done through
regular short courses in order to deepen our knowledge of our Faith. Training may also be needed for Priests on
how to delegate effectively without abdicating responsibility.
also felt that we need to train more Deacons as at present they are able to
carry out far more duties than the Eucharistic Ministers. It would be good to
see more lay led home groups, which could provide Eucharistic Services, Bible
Study, Prayer and Discussion Groups. These could be extended to include other
Faith Groups, who share our Christian beliefs. Where possible it would be good
to have House Masses, which could include discussion of the days’ readings and
socialising at the end of the service.
part can modern technology play in providing access to Mass every Sunday? The
use of streaming should only be Church based except for the house bound. We do
not want to end up with a situation where people do not attend Church but stay
at home accessing the Mass on their mobile phones. However technology can be
useful particularly where a Priest has several Churches to serve over the
course of a weekend. Mass could be streamed from one Church to other Mass centres,
where Eucharistic Ministers are available to give out Communion.
were very concerned about keeping our young people involved. At Primary School
the Parish Priest is able to visit regularly and say Mass on a regular basis.
The problem arises when they move on to Secondary School. Parish Priests do not
have the same access and many teenagers do not attend Catholic Secondary
Schools. This could be down to a number of factors: the 11+, peer pressure,
distance and cost. If the latter could there not be a central fund to help
parents with the cost of travel, particularly if they have large families.
need to work at preserving our Catholic Ethos in our schools particularly if we
are only allowed to take 50% Catholics. We need to recruit more Catholic
teachers and compromises should not be made for other Faiths and non Church
goers at the expense of our Catholic values.
After all parents are choosing to send their children to Catholic
schools and must understand that they would be expected to attend Catholic
Services and R.E. lessons.
need to hold more Youth Masses in order that we keep our children interested in
their Faith and hold discussion groups where they can air their views without
ridicule. Social events like Catholic Youth clubs might also help to keep them
were concerned about finances. If spare Presbyteries are sold, who does the
money go to the Parish or the Diocese? When our Parish is made up of 4 Churches
what will happen to the weekly collection? Will an individual Church have any
control over its parishioners’ donations or will it just go into one big pot?
main concern here was the size of the area that one priest had to cover,
particularly when you consider that the Dengie is a rural area. Roads are not
wide,they bend a lot, they are not direct as they have to make their way around
estuaries and inlets, so increasing the mileage and there is no lighting. What
happens in winter when there is snow, ice and fog on the lanes. Maybe this is another situation where
technology could help.
four centres are facing a large amount of house building, which is likely to
impact on the size of our congregations. All four Churches are relatively
small. How are we going to safely accommodate more people particularly at the
major festivals of Christmas and Easter. In the Danbury Mass centre for example
we already have regular Mass attendance at Easter in excess of 300 and a church
that holds less than 200 at a single service.
The proposed Hammonds Farm garden village development will also add 5000
new homes and double the population of the catchment area by 2035 further
exacerbating the problem. This will
either need more Priests at such a time or a much larger church. Is it worth looking at the possibility on
these occasions of using larger Churches currently owned by other denominations
such as St John’s in Danbury.
only one priest for 4 Churches what happens if a priest is taken ill or goes on
holiday? Is it possible to organise cover on a Deanery basis?
end of the report it is suggested that Kelvedon and Witham would be put with
the 4 Dengie Churches in a Parish Group. Would that mean that beyond 2025 one
priest would have to serve 6 Churches?
Or what else does the Parish Group mean?
parishioners feel that in view of the shortage of priests that this could be
resolved if the Church were to sanction women priests and if men were allowed
to marry, this might attract more men to the priesthood.
of the Gospel.
Stewards of the Gospel
Feed back on First Formal Proposal