I concur with the comments of David Honeybell (26 July) regarding the precarious situation in which our church, Holy Spirit, finds itself due to the dwindling attendances resulting in a considerable reduction in income.
For a church to survive, it needs a healthy contribution and participation by young people (through their parents) starting with small children and then the older ones.
There are, sadly, some sombre statistics that make depressing reading on this, which may explain David’s concern at possibly losing the church he has known from childhood.
The school has 210 pupils of which about 80 per cent are Catholic, by having a Catholic parent(s). About 20 per cent live outside the parish boundary. We have a modest number of families/parents that attend Sunday Mass with the children and regularly support the church and its events. These figures reveal that there are only about 30 schoolchildren coming to Mass, which leaves about 100 that are not and neither are their parents.
Many of these parents took the trouble to attend either church or school (or both) when applying for places but very soon they are only seen at the school gates for drop-off or pick-up times and the occasional school-events.
Why do these absentees wish for a Catholic education for the child yet don’t support the church which provides the school? One parishioner once said to me: “Steve, they don’t want the church - they just want the school”.
Before Bishop Roche was sent to Rome, he had reorganised the Deaneries in Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield and it included mergers of parishes with some closures which didn’t go down well with most parishioners.
As yet our Deanery (Dewsbury) of eight parishes has not been touched but when the new bishop is appointed, one of his priorities will be to reorganise it and there will probably be two or three mergers and maybe one or two closures.
Both attendance figures and income are the main deciding factors and in 2001 Holy Spirit had 303 people at Sunday masses; in 2005 it was 209 ; in 2012 it was 186 (even fewer this year).
Our parish needs about £1,000 EXTRA per month to keep up with overheads and costs and price-increases. On top of that, we are only halfway towards the target of £100,000 which is our part of the recent repairs and future redecoration costs of £270,000.
This is a plea to lapsed parishioners and the absent parents and their children. Please make an effort to come to Sunday Masses (Saturday vigil at 6pm and Sunday at 10am ).
Please start to come on August 17/18 to help keep our church alive – if only to allow David Honeybell to complete his “tour of duty” in his own parish!
As someone said earlier this year “An empty church soon becomes a closed church and without a church there will be NO school”.
“Use it or lose it” is also appropriate.
So, we need:
(a) More bums on seats
(b) Twice as many knees on kneelers
(c) An extra £250 per week collection
(d) Another £50,000 to reach the repair-fund target.
(e) 950 more second-class stamps for a mail-out prior to our Centenary next June.
Could any local businesses help us with any of these requirements.
So that’s the picture .... in full High Definition. I hope it has sparked some thoughts in some people to help us with our struggle to keep our church alive and healthy. We will welcome you on August 17/18.