Parish Plan for St Thomas’ and St Dunstan’s

From this weekend, our newsletter is for both the Parish of St Thomas of Canterbury and the Parish of St Dunstan.

Father Peter Norris — parish priest for nine years of St Dunstan, Hersden — celebrated his final Mass last Sunday 17th and has now retired to Maidstone. We wish him all God’s blessings and thank him for his nine years of pastoral care of the people of Sturry and Hersden. Please continue to remember him in your prayers.

Archbishop John Wilson has asked me to be parish priest in his place, as well as continuing as parish priest of St Thomas of Canterbury. Hence the one newsletter covering both parishes. I have already met with some members of St Dunstan parish and also with their Parish Council. They are an enthusiastic group who are committed to working to ensure that there is a strong Catholic presence in Hersden and Sturry.

From this week there will only be one Sunday Mass at 10am at the Hersden Church; Fr Mark, Fr Giovanni and myself will take it in turns to celebrate this Mass. We are blessed to have, at Sturry, the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions on Staines Hill. It consists of St Anne’s, which is a care home for elderly sisters, and, adjacent to them, a community of sisters in a house called Euphrasie Barbier Convent, that supports the work of the Care Home. We purpose to celebrate Mass for them on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday before lunch. They will also have a Vigil Mass for Sunday, on Saturday evenings at 4pm.

At the beginning of this month our Archbishop, John Wilson, wrote to all the priests of the diocese saying that, as we commence a new academic year and begin a new cycle of parish activities events and initiatives, it is tempting just to repeat what has been done before, or to focus primarily on implementing things that are practical, procedural and regulatory. He wants to encourage us to think again with a missionary heart. To look at our parish and community and try to discern how things might grow and move forward in new ways.

The Archbishop wants each priest to consider and complete a Parish Plan for the coming year. Each parish is asked to do everything possible to complete their Parish Plan ideally before Advent, and in relation to three areas:

  • Evangelisation
  • Catechesis
  • Formation

A few days after the Archbishop’s letter, the diocesan Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis sent us various materials to assist in the construction of a simple parish plan for these three areas.

I have had preliminary discussion with Fr Mark and Father Giovanni about the Archbishop’s wish for a Parish Plan. I can’t see how this can be formulated without the help of the people of both parishes. St Thomas’ and St Dunstan’s are beginning from very different starting points. If you have the inclination to do so, then you can see all the relevant resources on this website  Let me know your thoughts.

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest