Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 29 January 2015

The meeting was attended by Fr. Pat Cleary, Fr. Bob, Fr. Anthony, Deacon Geoffrey Cook and 11 parishioners, chaired by Jim O'Sullivan.


Norah Darby, Christine Knight, Lynda MacIntyre.

Matters arising

The proposed Bereavement group is on hold due to some personal reason of Dr. Annemarie Golden.

Further work arising from Evangelii Gaudium has been put on hold until the proposed follow up work on the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family has been achieved. It will be discussed at a Forum later in the year.

Richard Birkett mentioned the question of a new photocopier and he will discuss this with Fr. Pat.

Extraordinary Synod of Bishops

A Consultation Document was issued last Sunday with the Forum Agenda in the Bulletin at all Masses.

Two documents have been issued by the Bishops of England and Wales, one directed at families and a second at the Clergy. Both consist of questions which merit general discussion. Dick Wilson told the meeting that there were various useful things to discuss as well as helpful documents from the diocese. He suggested a series of meetings should be offered at different venues and times around and within the parish so that as many people as possible were able to respond. He suggested a series of 4-6 meetings should be held and it was refined to suggest this starts with the first two meetings of each group before Easter and the second group after. Each group would need someone to chair/lead it, someone to keep notes, this then to be summarised and submitted to the parish before the whole venture is submitted to the diocese and the Bishop's Conference. In addition to groups meeting at the church at different times and on different days, at the school and possibly elsewhere, it was suggested it might be possible for groups to be run at secondary schools to actively involve young people and listen to their opinions, and that the other Catholic Parishes in the area/deanery and other local Churches be invited to join in to present a wider perspective. It would be important to try to get the opinion of people who did not attend the group discussions. People could be asked to write in on paper or online to share their opinions. It would be excellent if the clergy would also attend, not as Leaders/Directors but as part of the parish in its entirety. Paul Simmons reminded us to check what other dioceses are doing to use their good ideas and avoid reinventing the wheel. Fr. Bob commented that "consultation” is a horizontal process which encourages people to share and discuss. Richard Birkett asked "what is the discussion for" and Paul Simmons replied that Pope Francis wants to know what the ordinary people think. Karen Rodgers said that the Pope challenged us to look at where we are now in both catechesis and pastoral support. It was agreed that the Facilitation Group and others who wished to help agree a framework on which to work.


Holy Week:

It’s recently been agreed that the parish may use the school’s sound system during 9.30am Sunday Mass. There is a question as to whether there is a loop system there.

House Masses on Mondays in Lent will be continued. It was suggested that those wishing to attend one of these Masses near to their homes contact the office who can tell them if there is room and give the venue, to continue to protect the host households from being overwhelmed while opening it to a wider group. Pat Cook will be asked to coordinate this. Hosts are asked to only provide very simple refreshments, ie a cup of coffee/tea and a simple biscuit.

A further training session for Readers at Mass will be set up.

The new Mass books are good and used by a lot of people, particularly visitors. But there are difficulties following parts of the Mass as there are so many options and people can get lost. Fr. Pat and Fr. Bob both said that they sometimes only decide on which Eucharistic Prayer to use at the time of coming to it for many good reasons and would be reluctant to be committed in advance. Fr. Pat always announces which prayer he is using as he comes to it.


The figures for this year are already in hand and will be published shortly. The parish is in a better financial state than last year and Fr. Pat feels we are strong enough to go ahead with new chairs for the Parish Room. The exact choice will be made at the next Forum meeting in April.


The Confirmation process. Mary Watkins will not be leading this this year. The Bishop wishes the age at Confirmation to be reduced by about 2 years which does alter how the programme runs. (Confirmed after meeting to be 13 years) A shorter more concentrated programme has been suggested.

First Communion. Sue Price and her excellent team continue to run this.

Catechesis for Travellers. Lynda McIntyre is no longer well enough to do this and so in due course someone needs to be found who is interested in this special ministry.

Adult catechesis. The diocese Learning Together programme contributes to this. Fr. Pat suggested a book he had found very inspiring called Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry A. Weddell and two copies have been purchased for the parish library.

First Communion parents are encouraged in their children's preparation and are helped towards this. Karen Rodgers mentioned a book she had found very inspirational for children or even adults, King of the Golden City by Sr. Mary Loyola

Buildings and Grounds

The car park continues to be a problem as is street parking at Mass times. Paul Simmons commented that the council are still uninterested in marking the entrances with white lines even though there have been accidents.


The new Headteacher Clare Clark is in post. Before Christmas half of an in-service training day was used as a day of recollection.

Parish Groups

There were no updates.


Jim Scally said that the 100 club of fund raising has reducing numbers (48) so that pay outs are too high for the income. It was agreed that it would be best to reduce the size of winnings.

Christian Unity meetings seem to be neglected. Fr. Pat apologised as he is usually on holiday during this week. This should be given a higher priority in the future.

Dates and topics for future Forums