Letter from Bishop David Evans to the Cathedral & Birmingham South Deanery – Jan 24

To be read at weekend masses of 13th & 14th January 2024

My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,

As Pope Francis has reminded us, we don’t so much live in an age of change, but rather a change of the age.

In our deanery there are 39 parishes currently served by 24 priests, and their average age is 64. It’s estimated that in a decade the number of priests may diminish to as low as six.

Furthermore, we currently celebrate 84 weekend Masses in the deanery, all more-or-less at the same time, and often within less than two miles of each other, particularly in the city.

With this in mind, as Christians it would be irresponsible not to discern. Instead, we must move towards a model for our parishes which is sustainable, outward-focussed and missional. This is a moment to rediscover our shared identity as disciples.

Change is inevitable, but this is an opportunity to shape that change rather than wait until it is forced upon us. In the coming months, you will be invited to gather together to consider proposals which will enable an appropriate response to these changing circumstances. I would like now to encourage parishes, and the deanery as a whole, to be part of this conversation and to do so in a generous and prayerful spirit.

With my prayerful best wishes for the New Year, Bishop David Evans.

A Response to Bishop David’s Letter – St Gregory’s, Bearwood

Before Christmas, Fr Gary Buckby convened a small, representative group from the parish to help him discuss and discern some potential ways forward in Bearwood, while we are without a parish priest.

In response to the letter overleaf from Bishop David Evans, this group would like to gather our parish together in the generous, prayerful spirit His Lordship is calling for.

A Parish Survey

The first way we can do this is through a parish survey. This will help to identify the many ministries that parishioners here already do, but it can also reveal our gifts so that the parish will grow even stronger. This survey will appear in the next few weeks.

Parish Meetings

Another way is through parish discernment and prayer meetings. The hope is that everyone will be able to attend, to listen and discuss. This will also be an opportunity to hear about the Vision our Archbishop has for our diocese, deanery, and parish. We look forward to reading and hearing your contributions over the coming months.

Please continue to pray – and if you have any questions, the following people will do their best to answer them:

Dn Ajit Gomez
Liz Coleman (Safeguarding)
Paul Northam