Monday 13 June 2016

What`s happening in East Anglia?

A parishioner came back from a pilgrimage to Walsingham and brought with him a copy of the new Alive in Faith newsletter produced by the diocese of East Anglia. There I read that 12 years ago there were no students in formation for East Anglia. Now we have 10, plus 10 `nibblers` who are considering joining the priesthood. Looking at the Alive in Faith website maybe gives a clue to this success. It lists priorities thus:


Alive in Faith supports our vision for the future our Diocese which is to have:
† Seminarians who are well formed, and clergy who are supported when they step down from active ministry
† Strong and vibrant parishes that are addressing local needs
† Programmes of outreach to help those who are most vulnerable in our communities

So good news from East Anglia and I hope they can give useful advice to dioceses not doing so well. It gives the lie to those who foresee  the future as being a Church without priests.


  1. I currently reside in a diocese in which the priest shortage is to result in a two-third parish re-organisation and the property developers at the door.

    The latest Pastoral Letter is one for social justice, with an apparent complete lack of knowledge of both diocesan and parish life prior to Vatican II, when social justice in practice, not in ramblings, prevailed.

    There was no mention of the need for vocations, but last year stated a need for the Permanent Diaconate [unusually none in the diocese] and lay management. At that time, the bishop preaching in a church/community which had at least one seminarian and was the day of his first anniversary - nary a word.

    Mass will now tend to that which I refer to as 'the French variety', where the priest confects The Sacrament and then leaves matter to the [not]EMHCs.

  2. The Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life; the Blessed Eucharist is the whole spiritual good of the of the Church: Christ our Pasch. Without priests there can be no Mass, and consequently, no Church.

    This diocese will perish without priests. Bishop Cunningham should invite the Oratorians, ICKSP and the FSSP. Forget 'Forward Together In Hope' and give us priests! And forget this married priest nonsense. We need dedicated celibate priests (1 Cor 7: 32-35).

  3. I believe that the FSSP were roundly refused a church in the diocese. The ICKSP approached the bishop (via myself) re St Michael's in Newcastle. Sadly due to lack of Catholics (practising) in the area there is no longer a viable congregation - which the Institute would need. I believe that there was some discussion regarding a church in Hartlepool but have not heard the outcome. Looking at possible seminarians; there seems to be a requirement that they be in their mid 20s. Surely we had more priests when training began at a young age. There are so many other opportunities for men now that we need men to start training as soon as the perceive a vocation. Even when taking slightly more mature seminarians we cannot guarantee their remaining in the priesthood as we have lost 1 already in the last 12 months.

  4. Please not that Alive in Faith is a fund raising programme based on persuading people to pledge sums of money NOT a spiritual renewal

  5. According to the website of Oscott College, there is just one student from East Anglia studying for the priesthood there,and he is in his third year. There are possibly one or two others in Rome or elsewhere. So I presume that most of the ten will be starting in seminary later this year. If that is the case, tgree cheers for Bishop Hopes!

    1. A little further investigation has revealed that two of the ten are about to start in seminary later this year. That leaves eight currently training. It seems that several of these are at the Bada, which implies that they are men of more mature age, probably former Anglicans.

      It is still a good number of vocations to have, and perhaps it is because Bishop Hopes is a former Anglican, himself, that he is doing so well.


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