Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sacred Heart Parish Wimbledon

The announcement by the Society of Jesus of their intention   not to withdraw from the parish  (there are at least three Jesuit houses within 50 yards of the Sacred Heart church in Edge Hill) but to cease running the parish from about October 2013 has already  been the source of considerable debate by parishioners.

 The much loved  (US)  parish priest Father Keith with Wimbledon's  Father Rector having bravely announced the decision at masses last week, then positioned themselves outside after church where they could be praised encouraged or heckled by what are still the crowds of people leaving masses on  Saturday night  and all day Sunday.

This week the Society of Jesus in Wimbledon was bolstered   by the attendance of Father Provincial who is due to speak at all masses. His words yesterday at the 6:30 pm Mass were imho very  intelligent and thought provoking. He and they then  again positioned themselves prominently outside   so that they could be approached and supported or harangued  by parishioners as we left the church.

Father Dermot is due to attend a public discussion about the Js' partial withdrawal in the parish hall on Tuesday night when as it happens  I will be away on some   Donhead  (farewell  to a family) duties at a Wimbledon Village restaurant .

The parish website has been relatively quiet for weeks but has now broken out into some interesting and not always supportive debate  some of which slightly reminds me of  comments made at the time when the announcement of the closure of Beaumont was made by father Provincial in about 1965. The current website comments  may be found at:

http://www.sacredheartwimbledon.org.uk/provincials_letter_to_parish#comments

However unlike the Beaumont history, the Jesuits are to remain in some force at Wimbledon and the peoples' friendships  with them are bound to continue. The Jesuit schools  in Wimbledon are continuing  and thriving but the number of Society of Jesus members in England has reduced from about 1000 in the 1970s to about 200 today so  much as I am sad to see them withdraw from running the parish, I can see why and wish them enormously well.

Wimbledon Sacred Heart parish is a very large and relatively dynamic parish so I expect we will have a huge amount to offer the new diocesan priests next year and beyond and at the same time will continue to enjoy working with and for the Jesuits.

1 comment:

  1. All things change and often for the better. When the dubious switch to the Ordinariate by the ex-vicar of St Michaels's Croydon took place we were potentially dealt a seriosu blow, especially in view of the "take and break" agenda allegedly adopted in the move to RC status. However a new vicar is already seen as a vast improvement over the previous incumbent.

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