I feel a great attachment to my other parish, St Wilfrid`s, where I lived for ten years from 1995-2005. The future of the parish is looking very unsure. Finances are bad: there was only £8 in the parish bank account before Christmas. The congregation has dwindled to about 35 at a Saturday vigil Mass. In 1979 there were over 400 coming to Mass. We have had two meetings to talk about viability. The parishioners were told about five years ago that things were bad. Some now just want the agony to be over, others want to fight. So we are looking into the options. The mighty basilica of St Patrick`s, Felling is only half a mile away with plenty of room. Please remember the beleagured parishioners of St Wilfrid`s in these difficult days. There is a Facebook group for St Wilfrid`s here.
This is so sad. However, symptomatic of many parishes - falling Mass attendance, a more mobile Catholic population, shortage of clergy and mounting expenditure needed for the upkeep of crumbling buildings.ReplyDelete
I will miss my regular Monday morning Mass at this most atmospheric church.
Sad as this might be the sheer expense of maintaining a church so close to 2 others is crippling. Both St Patrick's & St Joseph's were there before St Wilfrid's & it was obviously built to serve a large congregation which is no longer there.ReplyDelete
Whilst not wishing to blame everything on the dumbing down of the Church post Vatican II it has to be accepted that Catholics today are less faithful to the Church than previously. Looking at the picture on the blog there seems to be a dearth of younger people, especially thos with young children.
Sad, yet almost inevitable since the bishops and priests encouraged the cult of softness for so many years,, multiplying number of Masses unnecessarily, with Saturday evening AND Sunday evening Mass in so many parishes, transferring of Holydays to Sunday etc...long before there was a shortage of priests. The Darnel certainly got mixed with that sowing!ReplyDelete
I have opened a facebook page too called'Save St.Wilfrid's Church Gateshead',a number of people have joined and I am pleased that you have made one too,it is a church worth fighting for,despite the problems we face.I would urge people to join this group,Many Thanks
I was at Ushaw in the late 1990's and a few of us seminarians used to attend the Traditional Latin Mass on Saturday's at St. Wilfrid's.
I wrote recently, that those days were offered spiritual nourishment for the war-weary soul.
May God bless you and also the St. Wilfrid's parishioners. My prayers are with you.
How right Newefpastoremeritus is. The Church has 'dumbed itself down' to an extent that congregations think that Mass should be celebrated to fit into their timetable rather than there being some effort put into going to worship God. I wonder how Catholics here would feel if they had to walk many miles to get to Mass as they have to in Africa?ReplyDelete
Regarding Rachel's posting; whilst I can partly agree with her sentiments we have to be practical. How much would it cost to bring St Wilfred's up to scratch again? Can we really justify spending fairly large sums in this way when St Patrick's is only 1/2 mile away? We must use finances sensibly & to the benefit of the Church as a whole. Sorry Rachel but I cannot foresee St Wilfred's carrying on
How would you feel if it was your Parish??? Would you not fight tooth and nail for it??? St.Wilfrid's has been neglected for years,if it had been kept up to standard perhaps we wouldnt be in this mess.I'm sure you have heard the saying 'God loves a tryer' and at least myself and others at the end of the day,hand on heart,can say that we tried our best.
What would you do if it was your church David???St.Wilfrid's has been neglected for years but we are willing to fight untuil the very end because,hand on heart at the end of the day we can say that at least we tried,after all God Loves a Tryer!!!ReplyDelete
Is that an "altar girl" I see? No wonder the parish is in trouble.ReplyDelete
Oh, I remember this community well having said Mass there for you so often when I was in Gateshead. my prayers are with you all.ReplyDelete
A case for handing over yet another church to one of the traditional orders and why is the femail server wearing white shoes? Black shoes, where are the boy servers?ReplyDelete
Is there an implication here that the presence of a female server is symptomatic of the decline of the Church? I support the availability of Masses in Latin, and have great respect for those who maintain the traditions, but some people cannot see the wood for the trees - this child is attending Mass; she bothers to participate in a special way; it requires commitment; she might only have white trainers..................think about it.Delete
Replying to Rachel; you must have noted that I said that I said that I partly agreed with your sentiments but surely we must be pragmatic about the situation. When St Wilfred's was built there was a large Catholic population to maintain it. That situation no longer exists. If the Catholics in the parish area still supported the church & practised their Faith then the situation would not exist. To keep the church with all of the financial load which that entails is not practical.ReplyDelete
Now if it were the only church in the area that would be different but St Patrick's is about 0.5 miles away & St Joseph's not much further. Sad to say the Church has 'dumbed down' the practise of our religion by giving us Vigil Masses, Sunday evening Masses etc. How did Catholics of yore carry out their religious duties? They put themselves out. As a boy I attended St Michael's where Sunday Masses were 7am (for the factory workers), 8am (which I attended with my father as he had a pub to run), 9.30am (for the school children - & all of their teachers attended!) & 11am the Sung or High Mass (which I attended as a chorister). We walked about 1 mile to church in all weathers up quite steep hills & never missed. So did all of the parishioners! How would today's Catholics take to that? Today some Catholics expect Mass to be at a time which doesn't inconvenience them at a church which is close to home.
Whilst it is always sad if a church needs to be closed we must accept that the financial implications must weigh heavily on the diocese unless Catholics return to their Faith & provide for a church AND PRIESTS to serve the churches.
However much I regret the probable closure of St Wilfred's we have to accept that it is the fault of those Catholics who do not uphold their Faith
Yes you are right,but the point of some of us is that there has been no effort in recent years to get the parish going again,there are a lot of developments going on in this area of Gateshead,this morning,myself and another two parishoners did a leaflet drop in the surrounding homes of the church,some 700 properties and we will be doing it again tomorrow.Pope Francis says that we should reach out to those who were Baptised but who are not carrying out thier promises,in part this is also what we are doing.
To the two Anonymouses: as I understand it altar girls are permitted at the OF. I was very keen to uphold the law which restricted altar serving to boys until we were given the authentic interpretation of the Code in the early 90`s which said they were legal under the 1983 code. The dean of the faculty of canon law at the Greg before this had told us that his interpretation of the code was that serving was limited to boys. Needless to say I felt very let down by the authentic interpretation and lost enthusiasm to make stands on liturgical points like this when the carpet could be pulled from under one`s feet.ReplyDelete
Not being a canon lawyer, merely a pew dweller at both OF and EF masses, I hesitate to interfere in detailed criticism of the rights and wrongs of female servers. However, to this simple mind, if female servers are allowed in OF Masses, then it is not up to us to criticise their presence. In any case, I have witnessed some quite devout girl servers, and some quite undevout fidgety boys. I am quite happy with girl servers, and I consider that there are far more pressing concerns currently for the Church than the shoe shade of servers.ReplyDelete
I'm surprised, Father, that you take any notice of 'Anonymous' bloggers.ReplyDelete
Shouldn't it also be 'Anonymice' or 'Anonymi' instead of 'Anonymouses'? LOL
Sad to hear that St Wilfred's faces threat of closure but it is clear from comments that it just doesn't have the support that it used to. We fought to save St. John's school a few years back but were unsuccessful. I have had one of your leaflets put through my door today but I live in St Patrick's parish and celebrate Mass in my home parish. Change is always hard and I wish you well in your fight to save St Wilfred's but I do think that if the Parish cannot financially and spiritually support the church then closure is inevitable. God Bless you all!ReplyDelete
Thanks Charley. The leafleteers may be over-zealous if you are getting leaflets iin St Patrick`s unless it is the Nest estate which while technically in St Patrick`s has had a long association with St Wilfrid`s. It was hard to believe that St John`s school closed: who would have thought St Patrick`s would ever be without a primary school? These are difficult days.ReplyDelete
Fr we are not over-zealous,so far 3 of us have leafleted 3500 homes within the St.Wilfrid's area,boundaries mean nothing any more,people go to thier church of choice,I for one will not be attending St.Joseph's if they do shut St.Wilfrid's.ReplyDelete
Rachel please don't be hasty and refuse to support St Joseph's if St Wilfred's closes. If churches are to survive they need our support. No Parish is ever safe from threat of potential closure. Decline in numbers of Parishioners and Priests continues and we could face several Church closures in the future if people have the attitude of " I'm not going to another Church if my local church closes". St. Wilfred's us not the first to face closure and will most certainly not be the last. Parishioners will feel a great sense of loss but they will find support from their neighbouring Parishes of St Josph's and St Patrick's.Delete
I thankyou for your comments but it is a very painful scenario,most of us at St.Wilfrid's feel; A) That we are not being given the chance to at least try and reverse the decline in the numbers going to our church,some people in the new housing estates dont even know that there is a Catholic Church on the doorstep!!! and B) That a small parish like ours is being sacrificed at the expense of the bigger parishes.The Bishop assures me that no decision has been taken yet.We are trying,there are major housing projects going on in the area so why not give us a stay of execution???? At least then we can say that we tried???Delete
Rachel, I love St Wilfrid's and miss it very much - I used to attend the Extraordinary Form there some years ago and I fell in love with it - a lovely, cosy little church. It seems to me that its size is ideal and it should therefore be the last local church to be closed, as there are so few practicing Catholics left, and St Patrick's and St Joseph's must cost a fortune to heat! I would be happy to help your group in any way I can.Delete
Rachel you ae doing a fantastic job and are doing everything that could be done. Let`s hope we get some response to the leaflets.ReplyDelete
@ Rachel: "a small parish like ours is being sacrificed at the expense of the bigger parishes"ReplyDelete
Not having been born British this might be a cultural difference, but I do not see the significance of individual parishes/churches in the sense Rachel's comment conveys. On any given week I go to 4 different churches. I have been asked to read in two. I am inscribed at one, but all 4 are "mine". As are the ones I go to in my native Eastern European country, or when visiting family in France or Ireland. I mean, one of the greatest things about being a Catholic is that Mass is Mass everywhere and you meet the Lord in Holy Communion in every Mass.
I think churches are assets/resources and once they are no longer feasible to maintain, they need to be "decommissioned" (and possibly dispensed with). We live in an urban area with a relatively good public transport system - I think even if half the churches in Newcastle-Gateshead were closed, people could still get to Mass, definitely on Sundays (weekdays are a problem at present, too, but that's a different issue).
Thus I think with the closure of the churches the diocese is no longer able to maintain, it is good stewardship that the Bishop is exercising.
No Ordinariate Group to step up and help? Sad. :-(ReplyDelete
Of course it is true that Mass is Mass everywhere ec, but some churches defy you to pray, and others encourage you. St Wilfrid's is an "encourager", and besides that it is perfectly natural to have an affinity to the church you have grown up in and loved, rather than merely considering it an "asset/resource" which needs to be "decommissioned".
What is going to happen to the War Memorial The Roll of Honour,ReplyDelete
NORTH EAST WAR MEMORIALS PROJECT.
Jim, I`ve not seen one. Is there a record of it?ReplyDelete
I served the altar at this church as a boy from about 1979 - 1985, parish priest Father Donnelly, a great and kind man. Sad that closure threatens. Will always have a place in my heart. My Nanna Mary loved this church with all her heart.ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear about the church's situation, I used to live right next to it.ReplyDelete
Yes Anonymous, Father Donnelly was a wonderful man and priest. I particularly remember attending a celebratory mass for his silver jubilee.
The church was so full of love and affection for him you could literally feel it. May the Lord take special care of him.
He was summed up by a fellow parishioner in three words..."He was Lovely"
I am at the moment re-editing a film I took of the summer fayre in 1989. You may have seen it in the past, in fact, I bet you are in it, as are many of the parishioners at around that time.
Father Donnelly is in it also. There's a bonny baby competition, a children's fancy dress competition, stalls, raffles.face painting, maybe you had your face painted Anonymous, bet you did.
Many of the children featured in it will have grown up by now, as also many will sadly have passed away. I will add a contact here as soon as I can. I will be putting it on You Tube.
regards to all
William, good to hear from you. You can find more regular updates on St Wilfrid`s on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/627546757325771/?ref=bookmarks or https://www.facebook.com/groups/275209302654999/ReplyDelete
I attended St Wilfrids school and Church. Sadly I no longer practice my faith. I was married by Father Donnelly with Mrs Shaw playing our music and yes they were both lovely people. When I first saw the sign about the closure it made me sad and I would have loved to have time to help but a very sad personal family situation took priority, A time when St Wilfrids again offered my family comfort.ReplyDelete