Joy for Grimsby's Catholic community as church merger is unlikely to go ahead and Pope Francis is welcomed
GRIMSBY'S Catholic community today has two reasons to celebrate.
Not only are the town's faithful welcoming the newly elected Pope Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio – now known as Pope Francis I – to the fold, but a feared merger of churches in Grimsby is unlikely to go ahead.
The Nottingham Roman Catholic Diocese is carrying out a review of provision in the area.
The move followed fears falling congregation numbers and fewer people being ordained into the priesthood would put two of the borough's churches under threat.
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A newsletter sent to parishioners following a consultation with them, revealed unless the Bishop could guarantee two priests could continue to serve the area, "plans should be developed assuming only one priest will serve North East Lincolnshire".
It went on to say the preferred and "most economically viable option" would be to close and sell St Mary's Church and Rectory, in Heneage Road, and St Pius X Church and Presbytery, in Chelmsford Avenue.
The diocese would then develop a modern, smaller and environmentally friendly church and small community centre elsewhere in Grimsby – preferably at the site of St John Fisher site, Waltham Road, Scartho.
However, the latest documents showing proposed parochial structures posted by the diocese show that Grimsby will retain three priests.
One will serve St Mary On The Sea and St John Fisher, the second will work out of St Pius X, Grimsby, Corpus Christi, Cleethorpes and Our Lady Star of the Sea, Immingham, and the third will link St Mary's, Louth, with St Joseph, Mablethorpe.
Spokesman for the diocese, the Rev Andrew Cole, said: "As can be seen from the consultation documents, there is no suggestion at present that the current parishes be restructured, and certainly not that any of the churches be closed.
"Bishop Malcolm is fully supportive of all the good pastoral work currently being undertaken in the parishes of North East Lincolnshire and hopes that the two parishes, including their schools, will continue to work together to be an active, forward looking and joyful example of Christian witness to the surrounding community."
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