Message from Fr. Philip
At the beginning of 2022 we had been waiting nearly 2 years for the appointment of a new bishop for our Diocese to replace Bishop Alan Hopes we continued to pray for a new bishop to care for the Diocese of East Anglia. We were still booking to attend Mass each week, stewards were on duty to check us in for Mass, and masks in church, all this because of the pandemic. But people were returning to Mass in large numbers. We were involved in the Synodal Pathway with the whole of the Universal Church, invited by Pope Francis to take part in a worldwide survey. We had some meetings on Sunday mornings after Mass, several people completed the survey and sent their contribution to the Diocesan Office.
At the beginning of February, we were able to move out of most of the pandemic procedures; no more booking for Mass, holy water once again available at the doors, and we reintroduced the sign of peace with an appropriate gesture. These were signs that a more normal parish life was returning and that many of you were feeling able to meet others with a certain amount of confidence. We began a coffee morning on Wednesdays after Mass, at first just a few, indeed not a big crowd now, but 8 to 12 people most weeks, meeting for a hot drink and a chat in the middle of the week. We also had our annual Pancake Supper on Shrove Tuesday which we had missed in 2021, it was good to meet with our parish community for this regular social event before the season of Lent. On 24th February Europe was plunged into war in Ukraine and we were left wondering how to respond to this terrible event; first we began to pray for the people of Ukraine every day after Mass; we had a collection of clothes, toiletries, first aid kits and various other items, these were all delivered to the Ukrainian Church in Peterborough and were very gratefully received. We also took part in the national DEC appeal for Ukraine and donated £600 from our parish. Our celebration of Lent was now in full swing, and we were able to have real meetings, rather than virtual events as in the previous year; our celebration of Easter was much easier to manage, and more people were able to attend the services.
As the summer approached, we had a wonderful garden party for the Platinum Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II and a lovely event it was. The day was fine, we began with a Mass of Thanksgiving for the long reign of Her Majesty and then about 80 parishioners brought food of all kinds and from the many cultures of our parish, what a joy to see our community gathered once again for a social event in the garden. We also joined in the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Walsingham at the end of May with a coach to enable many people to attend, it was great to see so many going to Walsingham to join the Diocesan group. At the beginning of June we decided to close the Mass centre at Papworth Everard, at the same time we changed the time of the Saturday night Mass in St Michael’s and moved it to the new time of 6.00 pm, this is now a regular Mass time and numbers have risen to between 40 – 50 each week, this gives a good opportunity for many of you who work shifts to be able to get to Mass for the weekend. Thanks to the people of Papworth for their understanding in this matter. During the rest of the summer, we had some fundraising events in the garden, our parish BBQ, a wonderful gathering which raised a total of £811; later we had the Cream Tea which raised a total of £375. We have not formally launched our fundraising campaign in case we are unable to go ahead, nevertheless several generous donations were made last year, raising the fund to a total of £12,000, much of which has been spent on fees for the preparation of our work. Our parish also gave generously to the national DEC appeal for the Pakistan Flood Emergency, we gave just a little under £800 for this appeal, I thank you for your generosity in these matters.
At the beginning of September, we were all saddened to hear of the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II and came together for a memorial Mass to pray for her and to remember her family in their grief. At the end of September, we had our Parish Feastday and the now traditional international lunch, this time the weather was very kind to us, and we had the lunch in the garden, wonderful to see lots of parishioners coming to the festival and a great variety of foods on offer. At the beginning of October, a new bishop was appointed to our Diocese, and we welcomed Bishop Peter Collins to be our new bishop, he was ordained on Wednesday 14th December and began work straightaway.
Work had continued throughout the year on the building project, bit by bit we moved forward through building regulations and preparation of the final specifications, at the end of November our plans went to tender with three local builders to do the work for us, the tenders are due back in February 2023, let’s hope we can still afford to go forward with this wonderful project for our parish.
I thank you all for your continued support and commitment to our parish and I hope that 2023 will see the beginning of work at St Michael’s to improve our facilities for the benefit of our community.
May God bless you all.
OUR FINANCIAL STATEMENT