The Consultation Process
Last weekend the Bishop wrote to the Parish outlining to us that he had hoped to have the Dominican Order take over the running of Our Lady and The English Martyrs. It was envisaged that this might have been possible within the space of six – eight months. The Bishop had identified with Mgr Peter Leeming, various things that needed to be tackled in order to make this large and diverse parish easier in terms of ministry and pastoral care. The Community Council in its document has also highlighted these matters.
I was approached by the Bishop because of my knowledge of this parish over the past twenty years when I have been at St Philip Howard and obviously interacting with the clergy and people of OLEM. Since time was the controlling factor it meant that I had to do as much as I could to address all the issues entrusted to me. Now that the Dominicans will not be coming to OLEM, the need for a six-month turn around is over.
The Bishop asked me to forward to him any letters or emails that I might receive so that he could respond to them personally. I hope you have all, by now, received that reply and found it helpful. The Bishop is anxious that there should be a time for those who regularly attend the Saturday 6:00pm Mass and for those who regularly attend the 5:00pm Sunday Mass to meet with him separately to discuss these matters. These two meetings will be held at the times and dates mentioned above in the OLEM community council notice.
Meanwhile the 10:45 am Mass on Sunday will go as planned to 11:00am from the first Sunday of July and the Polish Mass presently at 12:15pm will move to 12:45pm.
Now is a time for prayerful reflection, a settling of minds and hearts and a desire that the whole community of the parish might live and breathe as one. This can be achieved best by good will and prayer in thanksgiving for this wonderful parish.
ON THE MOVE Many of you will be aware that for some months Fr Dick Healey has been awaiting news of his move from OLEM. In the light of Mgr Leeming leaving it has been difficult for the move to go ahead but it is now official. After fourteen years with us here at Our Lady and The English Martyrs Fr Dick will be moving to become the Parish Priest of St Anthony’s Parish, Fakenham.
Certainly, he will find the pace of life considerably different from this busy parish and he will also have the perk of being so close to Walsingham; one of his great loves. The move is due to take place by the first week of July and Fr Dick will be saying his “Farewells” at the various Masses in the meantime. We will have him back once he gives us an appropriate date, to say “Thank You” to him in a more festive manner. Please remember him in your prayers, as I know you will.
St Benedict says “Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step toward dismantling the barriers of the world. Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time.”
The spirit of hospitality was obvious in a very real way on Wednesday evening when we were able to gather together for a beautiful liturgy of Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament with the former Rector and then to adjourn to St Alban’s Hall for a banquet of food and friendship. Thank you to everyone who made the effort to come and celebrate, to provide food and to share their hearts in thanksgiving to Mgr Peter Leeming for his ministry here over the past six years. We were able to present him with a substantial gift.
Hospitality does not stop with one-off events, as wonderful as they be, but should extend to the normal pattern of our daily life. I am asking those who are Readers who come to weekday Masses to come to the Sacristy before Mass begins to reassure the priest that there will be a reader for that Mass and to receive and instructions which the priest may have about the Liturgy of the Word on the occasion.
I am asking the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to also present themselves to the priest prior to Mass so that he knows someone will help him with the distribution of Holy Communion from the Chalice. Making these little efforts of helpfulness is a sign of hospitality, especially hospitality to the Lord who we are all called to serve.
Blessings to you all for the coming week!
We welcome this week Fr Alexander Ibe, SMMM who is joining Fr Dick, Fr Francis, SMMM and myself as the resident priests at the Rectory. I am sure you will make him very feel very much at home. We have started eating meals together as a family of priests should and we are very grateful to those parishioners who have kindly provided lunch for us over the last two weeks. We have advertised for a cook/housekeeper so eventually we will be able to carry on in a more regular way.
I have spoken to our Pastoral Assistants and we are in the process of organizing a Day Retreat for those who are presently Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion for St Philip Howard, Our Lady and The English Martyrs and Sawston Parishes. The Diocese is asking that each parish keeps an up-to-date register of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
There will be eventually an Identity Card issued by the Diocese to those who are representing the Church in any capacity which will be for the good in maintaining Safeguarding Measures. A date and venue will be given in the near future for that day.
In the meantime, I would ask that anyone currently acting as an Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to let me know at which Mass they normally serve, to whom they normally take Holy Communion and the frequency of those visits as well as their availability for the period of May and June so that we can begin a Rota.
We also need to establish a Rota for Readers. So please, if you are currently reading at Mass please let me know at which Mass you normally read, as well as your availability for the period of May and June so that we can begin a rota.