The parish priest at St Edmund’s is a monk from Downside Abbey. The details of the parish and the story of how it has developed, supported by Downside Abbey, are interesting and surprising.
In the past few months, parishioners have been consulted (via the Suggestions Boxes and through personal contacts) on their ideas for evangelising our parish.
This discussion has also been taken up by the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC).
What has emerged is a picture of how we relate to one another as a parish and within the wider communities of Bungay, Harleston and surrounding villages; what our parish is today, what it should be in the future, and how it is seen by others.
Over the coming months and years, the parish will be working towards fulfilling our vision for St Edmund’s and making many of these suggestions reality.
Our suggestions can be grouped approximately under three main headings:
A CHURCH FOR EVERYONE
- There was a great emphasis on the need to be a Church for our young people, who are its future. We wanted to see much more involvement of children and young people in the liturgy, child-friendly homilies during Family Mass , more activities for children, and a fostering of links with the school.
- Ways to help teenagers retain their relationship with the Church need to be explored.
- At the same time the elderly, disabled, housebound, and those in their middle years must be actively included and their relationship with the Church fostered in practical ways.
- Those new or returning to the Church should be welcomed and actively included (both during Mass and in the hall afterwards).
- The parish must explore relationships with the wider communities of Bungay,Harleston and surrounding villages.
- Communications within the parish (the flow of written information; explanations of the liturgy) must be simpler and clearer.
- The website in particular needs to be more attractive,easier to navigate, and interactive.
A LIVING CHURCH
- The parish should be a vibrant, thriving community of the faithful, which enables them to live out their faith in the church and in their day-to-day lives.
- The parish must look to the present and the future, without losing sight of valuable past traditions.
- Parish activities and pilgrimages were encouraged as they both create bonds among parishioners and reach out into the world. These activities and social events should be fun and light-hearted, while not forgetting their spiritual impetus.
- Young people are the future life of the parish (see above)
- Modern means of communication and media can be employed to show us as a living Church.
- Being a living Church means being a giving Church – of money, time and skill.
A FAITHFUL CHURCH
- Our parish must be responsible, honest, holy, and true to its mission to preach the Gospel.
- There is a need both for traditional worship (Latin Masses, familiar hymns) and brighter youth-friendly liturgy with appropriate music and singing.
- There is a need for more worshipful silence
- Discussion groups, lectures and readings can be encouraged to help people explore and enrich their faith.
- Boards for personal prayer to be used in both churches – to tap into the power of prayer, both individually and as the whole people of God (through inclusion in bidding prayers/Mass intentions).
No-one’s suggestion has been ignored, and many individual thoughts and ideas are wrapped up in the above general headings. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will give us all the will and the energy to be a living, faithful and inclusive Church