A "rationalisation" of Masses is being carried out in some Middlesbrough diocesan parishes.
The rationalisation request has come about mainly because of a shortage of priests. Bishop McClean said in a circular letter that if it was not for the Marists and hatedictines the diocese might be in a critical position when priests took their holidays.
Bishop McClean suggests that priests should re-examine Mass times. Two parishes in Middlesbrough — St Alphonsus and St Juseph — are starting Saturday evening Masses to fulfil the Sunday obligation.
Bishop McClean suggested that duties, particularly hospital visiting, might be shared more among parishes. "It is difficult to find supply priests, particularly in the summer," said the letter.
Bishop McClean pointed out that since Sunday evening Masses were introduced 10 years ago most parishes had not reduced the number of Masses.
"For some older priests a large number of Masses, particularly If they have to travel to outlying centres, causes problems," he said, stressing the need for priests to consult parishioners.
A diocesan spokesman said the rationalisation had been suggested due to changing patterns of population and the opening of new Mass centres, coupled with a shortage of clergy.
He said clergy had been asked to look at Mass filmes — and those of neighbouring parishes — to see If a rearrangement might be possible. "Parishes in seaside resorts hese been asked to look at the possibility of having Mass on a Saturday evening, particularly fur the benefit of hotel staff.
Think of EEC role in world says Hume
ardinal Hume has called on atholics to be "conscientious" in choosing Britain's representatives to the European parliament when direct elections take place in June next year.
He said that the elections should encourage political parties to think deeply about European questions and to put the issues firmly before the electorate. He hoped the debate would not be confined exclusively to economic issues but would go on to consider "the wider implications of our shared future in Europe and the role of Europe in the world."
lie was speaking at the Golden Jubilee dinner of the St Thomas More Society last Friday.