PASTORAL INFORMATION FOR EVERYONE, REGARDING THE CHALLENGES,
CHANGES AND NEW PROCEDURES WITHIN OUR PARISH.
THESE CHANGES MAY HAVE A DIRECT AND REAL IMPACT ON YOU
AND YOUR FAMILIES.
We need to share this important information
so that you can make informed decisions about your involvement with,
or need for the Church in our area, both now, and in the years to come.
Catholicism is growing throughout the world!
Despite what the media would have us believe, there are now double the number of Catholics
compared with 1970. However, the same is not true of the number of priests
who serve those people.
The idea of commitment and lifelong responsibility is somewhat alien to many in our society,
and this has had a negative impact on the number of men offering themselves for service
in the priesthood.
We currently have just 26 active priests in our Diocese
stretching from the North of Doncaster to the South of Chesterfield;
from Bamford in the West to Retford in the East, and only five of those priests are under 50.
It is also estimated that there are over 60,000 Catholics living in this Diocese.
Sadly many have given up on their faith so may never want a priest,
but others, although not frequenters of their local churches, will perhaps seek out a priest
for those significant moments in life; Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals etc.
This was much easier to do as recently as the 1980’s,
when there were around 120 priests in the diocese,
and people could generally access one with little or no difficulty.
This is currently not the case.
Many, if not all, of our 26 active priests have two or more parishes, serving communities
that once had two or three priests each.
Consequently, the Bishop of Hallam has taken steps to ensure that the pastoral care
of Catholics in our diocese will continue, but with far fewer priests.
As of December 2017 we will have One Catholic Parish
here in Chesterfield served by just two priests.
(An area that in 2014 was served by seven priests.)
We hope that the information provided below will help you to make informed decisions
in the future regarding the pastoral care of you and your loved ones.
For infant baptism, one parent must be a practising Catholic who normally attends Mass
every Sunday in order that there be "a realistic hope that the child will be
brought up in the practice of the Catholic Faith.
If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is …
to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this."
(Code of Canon Law 868)
Weddings are joyful occasions which involve careful planning and preparation.
In order to ensure a priest will be available, the church needs to be aware of
projected plans and dates -
before firm arrangement of reception, cars and photographers are finalised.
AND HOSPITAL VISITS
Historically, this has been a huge part of our ministry,
and many have become accustomed to regular priestly visits.
Sadly, this can no longer be the case, and these visits will be limited to specific request.
It is your responsibility to inform the priest if a family member is admitted to hospital.
Regular House Calls and Hospital visits for the distribution of Holy Communion
will soon be carried out by Lay Extraordinary Ministers.
Calls for the administration of the Sacrament of the Sick (Last Rites) will always take precedence.
SACRAMENT OF THE SICK
If you need a priest to administer the Sacrament of the Sick (Last Rites)
to a member of your family who is seriously ill, or in danger of dying.
Don’t leave this to the last hour. Call the priest well in advance.
The Sacrament of the Sick (Last Rites) is valid for up to Six Months.
Not receiving the sacraments may cause you or your dying loved one great anxiety.
Funerals, Services and Requiem Masses are often subject to the time restrictions
at cemeteries or crematoria. It is important if you want a Catholic Requiem Mass,
you must agree the time and date with the priest before confirming arrangements
with the undertaker.
The Priest will do everything he can to help make the planning
go as smoothly as possible at this difficult time.
We encourage you also to pray with us for an increase in vocations
to the Priesthood and Religious Life.
PRAYER TO SAINT JOSEPH
TO KNOW ONE'S VOCATION
O Great Saint Joseph,
you were completely obedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Obtain for me the grace to know the state of life
that God in His providence has chosen for me.
Since my happiness on earth,
and perhaps even my final happiness in heaven,
depends on this choice,
let me not be deceived in making it.
Obtain for me the light to know God's Will,
to carry it out faithfully,
and to choose the vocation which will lead me
to a happy eternity.
If you believe God may be calling you to the Priesthood
we have some helpful information below.