A History of Catholic Life in Weymouth and Portland
"Priests and People are One - that is our precious tradition" (Bishop Cyril Restieaux)
Parts XI and XII The years 2006 and 2007
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The years 2006 and 2007
Note: Information pertaining to events in 2006 and 2007 is still being sought and compiled and will be posted when available.
Further support to the Kachepas
Although the Kachepas had returned to Malawi in the previous September, the parishioners were still concerned about their welfare. Money was raised for them to have a house built. Ralph Johnson put the following notice in the parish newsletter in February 2006:
WANTED FOR A PROJECT IN MALAWI: Sewing and knitting machines - hand or electric; and tools for quilt making; other general tools.
In February 2006 parents were notified that CATECHETICAL CAMPS 2006 would be held at Queen Elizabeth School, Crediton from 30th July to 4th August. The camps were for children who are currently in school years three, four, five, six and seven. The cost was £130 but financial help was available to anyone having difficulty in paying full fees.
In May 2006, supporters of so-called mercy killing, now euphemistically called Euthanasia or Dignity in Dying were putting forward a bill in the house of Lords, sponsored by Lord Joffe. Parishioners were urged to write to the Peers expressing their opposition to the bill and their deep concern.
Parishioners were advised on good authority that every letter would count. As they left Mass, Parishioners were offered a sample letter and a list of Peers. Writing to Peers is different to writing to an MP. Whereas letters should be addressed to one's constituency MP, Peers have no constituency. Thus citizens can write to any peer they feel might be sympathetic.
The protests from people around the country made their mark and the bill was thrown out – until the next time . . .
Two New Canons
On Friday 22nd September, Fr Patrick Chrystal and Fr John Deeny, formerly priests at St Augustine's Parish were installed as Canons at Evening Prayer in the Cathedral at Plymouth.
In October 2006, Gary Ayles and Mary Gibbs, each received the Diocesan medal for work in the Church.
Gary was honoured for his long service to the youth club since its foundation, and to the Deanery youth.
Mary was honoured for her long years presiding at the organ console, first at Holy Family Upwey and then at St Augustine's.
The award Mass took place on Thursday 5th October at the Cathedral.
The Year 2007 – New Beginnings
Changes at St Augustine’s
In July 2007, the Bishop appointed Fr Philip Dyson to a new parish at Penzance, Cornwall and he was succeeded as Parish Priest by Fr Stephen Geddes who came from Newquay.
Fr Geddes had been given the unenviable task of bringing together the parishes of St Augustine and St Joseph into one parish with a single parish church. Earlier there had been ideas that a new church would be built – if a suitable plot of land could be purchased. However, this proved to be impracticable and with St Joseph’s being in the centre of the town, it was logical that this Church would form the nucleus of the combined parish.
However, there would be a need to make alterations to St Joseph’s to accommodate the increased congregation. This would involve discussions with English Heritage to reach agreement on how this could be done sensitively.
The name of the new Parish
In Autumn 2007 Fr Geddes decided that the combined parish should have a new name and parishioners were asked to submit ideas. Eventually it was agreed that the new parish should be called:
Our Lady, Star of the Sea
This was particularly appropriate given Weymouth’s strong connections with the sea.
CWL help the LIFE Group to run a Jumble Sale
In October, the redoubtable ladies of St Joseph’s CWL agreed to help the LIFE Group to run a Jumble Sale using mainly stock from our charity shop. The result was £120 raised on the morning and a further £40 gained from recycling the clothes left over. This was a splendid result.
LIFE Group Art Gallery
On Saturday 1st December the LIFE Group organised a fund raising event with a difference. They took the opportunity to offer for sale a large number of pictures which had been donated to the shop. St Joseph’s Hall was arranged as an Art Gallery, supplemented by a Cake Stall, Plant Stall, and a Greetings Card Stall.
The Greetings cards were hand made by Joan Heynes from her own art work. Joan was a long term member of the local LIFE Group.
The event attracted a lot of interest and proved a welcome addition to LIFE funds.