A Letter from Bishop Patrick
1st July 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Over the past two years, parishes and deaneries across the diocese have been engaged in a consultation. It has focussed on future arrangements for parishes to work together and to be more outward facing, more engaged with the wider community, while recognising that there are now fewer priests to serve the parishes, schools, hospitals and other chaplaincies. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in leading that consultation, and to all those who contributed with their thoughts and suggestions.
Having considered carefully all the submissions from your parish and deanery, and after discussing these with your clergy and other leaders in the diocese, I have come to a decision about the future of your parish and the wider deanery area. I wish to set out now each element of the decision that affects you and that wider area.
At the beginning of September Father Paul Smith at Saint Philip Neri, Mansfield, and Father Paul Nellikulam at Saint Patrick, Forest Town, will both leave to take up new appointments.
Father John Kyne at Saint Philip Neri will be joined by a new Assistant Priest, Father Marc Besana, who is from the diocese of Capiz in the Philippines, but now ministering in our diocese. Together, they will work with the people in the parishes to serve the communities of Saint Philip Neri, Mansfield, Saint Patrick, Forest Town, Saint Joseph, Shirebrook, and Saint Therese, Market Warsop. So Father John will also become the Parish Priest of Saint Patrick.
The churches of Saint Bernadette, Bolsover, and Saint George, Rainworth, have been closed for use over the past 18 months and they will not reopen.
The community of Saint Joseph, New Ollerton, will be served from Holy Trinity, Newark. Canon Michael O’Donoghue and Father Peter Ingman at Holy Trinity will be joined by a third priest to assist them.
Father Simon Gillespie, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Victories, Southwell, and Saint Anthony, Calverton, will leave to take up a new appointment. Our Lady of Victories will be served by the clergy based at Holy Trinity, Newark, and Saint Anthony will be served by Canon Philip Ziomek at Good Shepherd, Woodthorpe.
Canon Michael O’Donoghue will also be the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Victories and Saint Anthony until such a time that these two places of worship can be formally joined to Holy Trinity and Good Shepherd respectively.
This will mean that Father Paul Nellikulam at Saint Patrick and Father Simon Gillespie at Our Lady of Victories will not be replaced with another resident priest.
These changes will come into effect for the weekend of 4th / 5th September 2021.
I realise this news may come as a shock to come of you, but the changes are based on the ideas and suggestions that emerged during the consultation. They are designed to try and ensure that, given the shortage of priests, the pastoral needs of every community can continue to be well served, and to encourage the different communities to work together for the benefit of the areas they serve. Every community affected is being given the same information this weekend, to help you to recognise that the changes affecting your community are part of a much bigger picture and plan for the future pastoral provision across our diocese.
In the next six to 12 months we will need to consider carefully the future of the church buildings of Saint Bernadette in Bolsover and Saint George in Rainworth, and the presbyteries at Saint Patrick, Forest Town, and Our Lady of Victories, Southwell. For now, the most important thing is to assure you that each community will continue to be well served by the clergy and team appointed to each place of worship. Please pray for them and give them your wholehearted support.
I wish to thank everyone concerned for their willingness to make these changes happen, and my prayer is that we will all come to recognise the need for these changes, which are not made lightly, and do our best to make them work in the service of Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Master.
You remain always in my prayer; please keep me in yours.
Right Reverend Patrick J. McKinney
Bishop of Nottingham