St Norbert's Catholic Church

Easter merger of area’s Catholic parishes

Two Catholic communities in South Holland are to merge into one parish on Easter Sunday.

On Easter Sunday the Immaculate Conception and St Norbert’s of Spalding and Holy Trinity in Holbeach will officially merge to form the Our Lady of Walsingham, South Holland.
The individual churches will keep their own names but a new committee to cover the parish will be formed with Father Jim Burke continuing to oversee both churches.
Special dispensation had been gained by the bishop so both churches could keep their designation as parish churches when just one in a parish usually has the title, Father Jim said.
He also said it’s down to fewer priests in the church.
Most recently a Nigerian Missionary Congregation had been overseeing the Holbeach church but COVID-19 meant the church could no longer afford to pay them.
“We have not made this decision lightly, and it has taken us almost two years to submit our application to the Bishop and the diocesan authorities,” Father Jim said. “I prefer to use the term ‘coalescence’ when talking about the joining of the two parishes – it makes absolute sense to join the parishes; you will see from all that is going on and with a combined church attendance of some 700 plus we are preparing for a future where priests are fewer, but we must enable our people to become more self-efficient, and I like to think we have already started that process, taking a step at a time.”
On the choosing of the new parish name of Our Lady of Walsingham, Fr Jim continued: “Most, if not all, parishes within the Diocese of Nottingham have to cross our parish on pilgrimage to Walsingham, which is only 44 miles from Holbeach and 53 miles from Spalding; many of our parishioners visit Walsingham on a regular basis, and our school children too visit the national shrine
“The reaction in recent days has been quite special, many priests have sent their good wishes, commenting how lovely to have a parish dedicated to our national shrine.
“Many parishioners, whilst happy that our churches are retaining their titles, are very pleased with the new patron of our parish.”
There’s currently no plans to change mass times while numerous initiatives will continue.
That includes the Project St Thomas initiative and its Hub In – Hub Out sessions providing free meals for those that need it every Sunday from 12pm to 2pm.
“The committee has six new members who are passionate in providing this community resource, not just in Spalding but in other venues across the new parish boundaries.”

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