Longdendale Catholic Churches


Meeting held at St Charles Borromeo Church on
Sunday 14th November 2021 3.30 p.m. - 5.00 p.m.

Present: Father Don, Ann Black, Angie Cass, Val Gebbett, Christine James, Damian & Cath Norton, Brother Phillip Revell, Sylvia Shaw, Nuala Shepley, Anne Travis

The meeting was convened to consider two universal questions which parishes throughout the Catholic church have been asked to respond to in preparation for the Synod of bishops which is taking place in Autumn 2023.

Q1. What is my dream for the Church, for my parish so that it can become more outward-looking, more missionary?
What is the purpose of our church?

  1. To administer the sacraments, cherish each other and build a family in common fellowship of faith but do our church doors need to open wider to encourage people to become part of our faith but also to reach out to people who have no interest in being part of our family and effectively engage with them in some way?

  2. Giving witness to our faith and belief through our words and actions in conversation with friends and acquaintances who may not be Catholic or even church going. Talking about what we are doing.

  3. Our existing website and facebook pages reach the people within the ‘club’ but a wider use of facebook groups could reach a greater audience and hopefully more young people.

Need younger  people in the two parishes to publish something each week on facebook to show what is happening.  Could also publicise the Children’s liturgy.
* There is a free local booklet published regularly and pushed through doors giving information including events and church services. There is no mention of St Charles or Immaculate Conception. VG will research how to connect with this publication.
* A recent enquiry from a new parishioner asked if we held any services specially for children targeted at their level. Nearest we have is the children’s liturgy which is an adjunct of Mass.
* Re-starting the music groups is a means of engaging with young people.
* Could we engage more with the other churches in the area who are working with disadvantaged people in the community? Ecumenical connections were stronger in the past but these have withered. Should we try to revitalise this connection? Offer from IC to provide food for a gathering but it could also be a shared table.
Should we engage more with refugees? Not aware of any in Glossop.

Q2.  What do we need to stop doing and what do we need to do differently?
* On a personal and spiritual level stop being despondent. There are small green shoots to connect with.
* There are younger families coming to the church more regularly but they are not connected with the older church and rituals. They are newer Catholics and seeking a newer church. How do we connect when their concept of church is so different to ours?
* Brother Phillip spoke of his time working in Manchester prison and listening to Noel Procter the Anglican minister read a piece of scripture and make a testimony. Noel was able to speak and make the scriptures come alive on such an intimate personal level. PR felt renewed and was left feeling we need to be able to do that, to sit down with a group of people to read  a piece of scripture and talk about what it means in our lives. We need to learn to do some of the things we think might be a bit protestant and evangelical because people want spirituality, they want to know personally  how they can connect better with God, rather than to attend traditional services.
* Suggested holding an Advent bible study and prayer group once a week, not a liturgy just somewhere where you sit in a circle, read a scripture and talk about what it means.
* The Bishop wants us to engage with Divine Renovation.   It is a vibrant, cheerful, smiley, Catholic approach to renewing parish and personal life and it is based upon the  relationship with Jesus at its root. The recent priests’ conference was directed by two ladies from Divine Renovation who are engaging with priests and parishes all over the country to bring this new way of seeing church into parish life and engaging from a very basic level starting with the scriptures. Divine Renovation are willing  to give us a kick start.
There was a heartfelt plea made to take up this offer because of the urgent need to engage with young people and get them to come  to church. They go to church when they want to and it is relevant to what is going on in their lives. Although for mature parishioners and clergy there are anxieties about changes of this nature, Divine Renovation could assist us in meeting the challenges.

Comments from the Suggestion Box

  1. Covering of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and religious institutions seems to be still regarded by Catholic church episcopate as an embarrassment rather than an authentic atonement. The damage this has caused is still ongoing and has without doubt turned many away from our faith. Requires more effective leadership to turn the tide of public opinion.

  2. Nothing compares to the Catholic Mass and the sacramental presence of Our Lord and any suggestion that we could make do with less is naive and disingenuous.

  3. The shortage of priests is recognised but if parish is to be viable ways must be found to maintain and support it. The admission of women to the diaconate could revolutionise this resource.

  4. Financial abuses in Rome suggest to the Catholic faithful to believe that their donations are not well used by the episcopate who lavishly spend on gilding their lifestyles rather than on charity. This is a prevailing view and must be changed.

  5. Our diocese is very remote in distance, visibility and connection to our locality with its proximity to Greater Manchester.  The trustees of the diocese appear to be recruited mainly from Nottingham and its area with little understanding of the challenges and possibilities of a city region location let alone the three counties within their remit.

  6. Administration of the diocese is too centralised to be effective overloading parish priests and failing to establish a framework of contacts for maintenance, consumables, etc. Urgent change is needed.The diocese needs to become less Nottingham.

  7. Well-served by a very experienced parish priest and a highly learned deacon with obvious benefits and drawbacks with the demands on their time. Active parishioners are predominantly elderly and loyal but with limited energy for parish development.

  8. A few young families who for well-understood reasons lifestyle priorities do not include Sunday worship.

  9. School predominantly made up of non-Catholic or notional Catholic staff, pupils  and governors.No contact now with St Margaret’s school.

  10. Little pastoral connection with the three parishes around Glossop. Little enthusiasm to improve this.

  11. Wednesday group is an active social monthly meeting open to all parishioners in Glossop.

  12. Deanery changes are imminent and destabilise the mind.

  13. Church upkeep, social activities and regular worship are positives.

  14. Time for prayer and adoration once a week.

A precis of the Catholic Herald article on the Synod will be made available.

The next questions we have to consider:

1. As a parish do we know people who feel marginalised or separated from the parish and wider society?

2. How can we best respond? Suggest two identifiable ways and immediate action and a long-term action whereby we as a parish can reach out to and listen to marginalised and separated people.

Do we need to have a further meeting during Advent to discuss these? Or send any thoughts either to Sylvia or directly to FD.