Parishes may share priest
12:00pm Thu Mar 14, 2013
The parishes of Newark and Southwell could be linked and share a priest under proposals to restructure the Nottingham Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.
A meeting in Holy Trinity Parish and Community Centre on Monday was told that a consultation was underway.
One of the suggestions is to link Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Newark with Our Lady of Victories at Southwell, which would be served by one priest.
Newark priest Father Michael O’Donoghue said a link between the parishes would mean that they would have to look at the number of masses celebrated in each church.
At the moment Southwell has a 6pm mass on Saturdays and a 9am mass on Sundays.
Newark has three weekend masses at 7pm on Saturdays and 10am and 6.30pm on Sundays. One of the suggestions is that the Sunday masses in Newark would be held at 11am and 7.30pm.
The congregation at Southwell has been asked for its views in a questionnaire. Church-goers in Newark will be given a questionnaire this weekend.
Concerns were raised at the meeting that if the morning mass times were changed it could cause problems for the distribution of communion to people at home.
There were also concerns about whether there would be room for the congregation in the Newark church if the services were cut.
Others said it was important that more lay people were involved in the church to help the workload of the parish priest.
The Bishop of Nottingham, the Right Rev Malcolm Mahon, has pointed out that the age of priests is increasing while their numbers are decreasing.
At the moment there are 108 parishes, 17 of which do not have a resident parish priest. Most are 45 or older, with 12 over 75.
Father Michael is among five deans who have been asked to help the bishop assess feedback from the consultation.
He said the bishop did not want to close any churches and at this stage no decision had been taken about linking any parishes.
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