top of page
Parish News and Announcements  

New wine into new skins focus group discussion – 6th July 2024

In response to the open invitations to all parishioners, five group discussions have taken place, led by Fr. John O’Brien.  These gatherings have focussed on sharing current feelings about parish life and about living in the here and now, to create the best of times. This reflection phase is now complete, and it is time to share the ideas for future action that have emerged in four overlapping themes.


1.   Community of welcome

a.   To move to a new level of welcome that can be felt.

b.   Foster inclusivity by acknowledging each other, making space in the pew, and warmly greeting returning parishioners, new parish members and visitors.

c.    Encourage cultural understanding and identity sharing within our current parish groups and services.

d.   Proactively identify and address barriers to inclusion and take responsibility to overcome them in the moment.

e.   Embrace opportunities to express our faith as missionary disciples during baptisms, first holy communions, confirmations, weddings, and funerals, where visitors and returning Catholics come to services.


2.    Outreach to Youth

a.   Develop a fresh approach to engaging your people (age 10-25).

b.   Demonstrate the relevance and personal meaning of our faith in their lives.

c.    Support them in overcoming challenges and seizing new opportunities in their journey for truth and happiness.


3.     Social celebration as a parish community

a.   Establish a framework of community celebrations tied to established Catholic festivals and individual or family milestones.

b.   These could be significant individual anniversaries or achievements, or world, national or cultural events.


4.   Structure and communication

a.   Develop clear communication channels to showcase our activities and facilitate participation.

b.   Utilise web-based platforms, posters, banners, letterbox leaflets, engagement with local schools, businesses, and other faith groups.

c.    Empower the Parish Council to adapt existing support structures and create four new groups centred around these themes.

d.   Recruit volunteers to champion each of these initiatives.


This is our challenge.  The Roman Catholic Church and our diverse community stand at a crossroads.  It’s time for our parish to build new bridges, to share our faith and our values and allow the radiant light of the Holy Spirit to illuminate our interactions and guide us forward.



Young people in school year 9 and upwards are eligible to prepare in their local parish to complete their initiation as members of the Church by receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.  Pope Francis has told young people, “You can be witnesses of the Gospel, carrying to this world a ray of God’s light”.  Preparation for the Sacrament is offered to our young people by volunteer catechists in each parish.


If your son or daughter wishes to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation, or if you are interested in becoming a catechist, please contact your local parish priest or Fr. Andrew Downie, the Dean of the Finchale Partnership, on or (0191) 3843442.

bottom of page