I hope all is well and that you are in the best of form.
Just in case you were not at Mass on Sunday, this is just a quick note to say that last Wednesday the Diocesan Council of Priests met to consider the results of our consultation over the closure of Holy Redeemer Church. They agreed with our findings (82% for and 18% against) and with sadness voted in favour of closure. Bishop Declan has given me verbal approval to communicate this information to you so that you do not find out second hand: he will write to me formally in due time.
It is not a decision we can easily celebrate but it is probably the correct one given the arguments already put forward during our consultation. The building may represent the community and we may retain great affection for it; but it is not the community. We are the community. My hope and prayer is that the Holy Redeemer Community with its special charism and in all its richness will reassemble in St Gregory’s Church at the usual times of Wednesday 10am and Saturday 6pm.
I shall write again soon with timelines for closure.
Also, I also hope to start collecting stories and histories of the church for our archives; if you have any I would be grateful for them. At a later stage we will decide where to relocate items on our inventory.
Fr Anthony Paris
Letter from Father Anthony 22 March
I hope all is well.
Last weekend we read out a letter at all of the Masses to begin the process of a parish-wide consultation about the future of The Most Holy Redeemer Church.
We are currently preparing for a future where fewer priests will serve larger areas with the possibility of diminishing congregations and income. Our parish has three church buildings within 2 miles of each other and the roof at Holy Redeemer requires extensive essential repairs if it is to remain open. Therefore, we must ask the question whether our mission in this city is best served by raising sufficient funds to repair and maintain this building. If not, should we redevelop the land in order to provide an income for the future? It goes without saying that this would be a very difficult and sad decision to have to take, given the fondness which many of us share for this beautiful and community-built church.
The salient facts are:
The church is used twice-weekly for a congregation of between thirty to ninety persons.
Projected essential repair costs are between £K500 - £1m.
Even if we could raise the money (which is doubtful), there is a compelling moral argument as to whether we should, weighing cost against strategic necessity and projected usage.
Closing the church would cause inconvenience and sadness but there are two other churches to choose from within a short distance.
With fewer priests and diminishing congregations - and therefore diminishing finance - redevelopment of the land will eventually provide an income for the future mission of the Church in Salisbury.
If the church does close, the Saturday Evening Mass will migrate to one of our other two churches.
Permission to conduct this consultation was granted by Bishop Declan on 7 February 2023 and the final decision will rest with him. It is my hope that through a period of discernment, prayer and dialogue we can provide him with the best possible evidence to inform the decision-making process.