£29,000 Paid Off Church Debts
FIVE NEW CHURCHES OPENED IN THE PAST YEAR
, The Church moves on apace in the great diocese of Southwark. Since the last Rosary Sunday pastoral five new churches have been opened, three new church halls have been completed, four new Mass centres established, and the foundation stones of three more new ehurehes laid.
The reduction of debt on diocesan property during the year reached the amazing total of £29,000.
Of these and other marks of the progress Archbishop Amigo, Bishop of Southwark, writes in the pastoral read last Sunday : We consecrated the church at Folkestone last June on the golden jubilee day of its being opened, and we were looking forward to the
consecration of the churches of Chislehurst and Plumetead in September, but the outbreak of the war prevented our doing this.
NEW CHURCHES We opened the new church at Polegate in December, that at Reigate in January. that at Lewes in April and that at Purley in June. The Church of St. Bernadette at Middle Park, Eitham, was appropriately opened in February on the anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady to the saint.
Halls are being used for Mass at Pollards Hill since March, at East Wittering since April, and at Petts Wood since this September.
Mass centres were started at East Shee.n in October, at Westerham in November, and also at New Addington and Weston Green.
The foundation stone has been laid for the churches at Lee, at Send, near Woking, and at Little Common, Bexhill.
The greatly needed enlargement of the church at Worthing has been beautifully carried out, and the generous pariehioners will enable their parish priest to meet the heavy cost.
The cathedral hail is very nearly finished, but we fear that even the handsome gift presented to us on the golden jubilee of our priesthood will not be enough to pay for the building.
Extensions have been made to the hall at St. Peter's, Hove, and to the sacristy at Streatham Hill. New chapels have been erected in their convents by the Daughters of the Cross at Ramsgate, by the Ursulines at Westgate, and by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers at Withdean.
The Oblates of the Assumption have had to close their house at Brockley, but they have built a very fine school at Charlton, and the Trinitarians have spent some £17,000 over their school extension at Bromley. The Sisters of the Sainte Union have acquired a very convenient property for a school at Bexley Heath.
The priests at Beckenham. Reigate, and Selsdon are in possession of presbyteries, and we hope that Cobham and Lee will soon have the good fortune of giving a house to their priests. It has taken over four years to overcome the many difficulties in acquiring a site at Waddon. We are very grateful for the gift of land at Billingshurst.
SITES ACQUIRED We have secured sites for churches at West Blatchington, West Dartford, Plumstead Common, and Snodland; also for a hall at Woolwich and for a presbytery at Tooting Bee.
The little cemetery at Chislehurst has been greatly improved by the gift of an additional quarter of an acre of ground. We were very pleased to lay the foundation stone for the Catholic hospital of the Sisters of Consolation in the Cathedral district, and to take part in the centenary celebrations of the Sisters of the Assumption, of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and of the Xaverian Brothers.
Abbey Wood, Addiscomhe, Angmering and Selsdon have resident priests now,
and the Catholics of these districts are deeply thankful for this blessing.
£29,000 PAID OFF 7 he debts at Carshalton Beeches, Chearn, Clapham Park, and Dulwich have been paid off, and we were much consoled by the report from our auditors that the reduction of debts in 10.1S amounted to close on iSe9,000.
We are proud of the labours of our two travelling missioners, and many Catholics, living in parts too far from existing churches, have greatly benefited by their quarterly visits.
The Franciscan Capuchin Fathers continue their apostolate for the hoppickers, who come into Kent every season, and who would have no Sunday Mass without them, but their expenses are necessarily heavy, and they should be assisted in meeting them.
NEW NEEDS The district attached to Worcester Park has grown enormously, and a church is urgently wanted at North Chearn, where the school hall is much too small for the number attending Mass on Sundays. Bostall Park and Whitstable require better accommodation for Mass, Sites for churches are needed at New Addington, at Gomshall, and Stoughton, near Guildford. in the Kingston area, at Fetcham, near Leatherhead, in the northern part of Dover, and at Mayfield.
OVERWHELMING DIFFICULTIES Margate and Westgate have succeeded In building a first-rate school, with the financial assistance which the Local Education Authorities can give in accordance with the Act of 1936, but. we are overwhelmed with the thought of the almost insuperable difficulties which we shall have to face in providing senior Catholic schools in our diocese.
Our Schools Commission advise us that our share of t he expense will be at least £250,000, and we do not know how such a very large sum can he found.
Archbishop Amigo goes on to express his hope that in view of the enormous financial burden of the war, and Catholics' well-known efforts for education, the Government will not press for completion of schemes.