St Francis Xavier’s Church Parish Advisory Council
Minutes for 11th November 2015
1. Welcome to all those present: Fr Michael (Fr M), Darren Debattista (DD) Chairman, William Fawcett (WF), Jaroslav Liska (JL), John Cook (JC), Margaret Bubb (MB), Paul Williams (PW), Val Vaughan-Williams (VV-W), Diana Pearce (DP), Ella Cwiertnia (EC).
2. Opening prayer: The meeting opened with a prayer led by (Fr M).
3. Apologies: Hugh Davis (HD), Jane Gennard (JG), Pat Maclean (PMac), Joanna Williams (JW), Stephen Booth (SB), Dominic Fawcett (DF)
4. Minutes of the previous meeting:
The minutes of 16th September 2015 which had been circulated previously, were agreed with the following amendments:
Apologies: (VW-W) should read (VV-W)
5. Replace Land Management with Property Management
8. Funding for 3 (not 2) events
Signed by (DB).
4. Matters arising:
8 (EC) The meetings of HVOSS need a representative from our Church as the Catholic view is not heard. Eg Safeguarding lacks emphasis on our belief that children should be brought up by married heterosexual couples. After a short discussion it was agreed that we, who hold a particular stance on this issue must use careful language if attending meetings, a) to stay within the law and b) to ensure we do not alienate those who share our concerns. We all want to safeguard children and sexual orientation of ‘parents’ is not the issue, as many children brought up by so called ‘normal’ couples are in grave danger.
5. Fr Michael’s Report:
(a) Since last PAC: Baptisms 5; Weddings 1; Deaths 4. Prayers were said for those who have died and also for the dead of two World Wars and subsequent conflicts.
(b) October Mass count was taken and shows an average Mass attendance of 375. This compares with 345 in 2014, 314 in 2013 and 301 in 2012.
(c) Thanks go to Fr Roman and Fr Andrew for ‘holding the fort’ whilst Fr Michael was on holiday.
(d) The Harvest Masses at Church and the School were very well supported and the Hereford Food Bank and the Sisters of the Poor Clare Monastery were delighted with the generous donations from Parish and School.
(e) The Liturgy Committee has met and discussed Christmas Mass times. It was felt that due to overcrowding, the time has come to have an extra Mass. An early one at 5.00pm on Christmas Eve was agreed. The committee also agreed that the Traditional Rite (Latin) Mass on the last Sunday of the Month should be discontinued as numbers were too small to warrant it. In some cases only 1 person turned up. The Traditional Rite Mass on Fridays at 6.30 pm will continue.
(f) A Christmas Tree will be provided again this year by Stuart Fox. We are most grateful.
(g) There is still damp on the wall in the Annexe where repairs are supposed to have been carried out by ‘Pizza Express’. This needs to be further investigated by the builder and the Archdiocese Property Manager. Pigeons are continuing to cause mess and new spikes need to be fitted to deter them from roosting.
(h) The Parish Library is long overdue for re-decoration and this should be completed before Christmas. New carpet in Fr Michael’s sitting room is also on order to replace the rather worn one.
i) Two concerts have taken place in the Church; the Boyan Ensemble from Kiev and Hereford Chamber Choir. Neither were particularly well supported by Parishioners but the choirs were well received by many from outside the Parish.
(a) The Alpha Course is set up and ready to go, with the first meeting in December
(b) Quotes have been received from 3 suppliers of audio-visual equipment for use in the Annexe. The aim is to have equipment that can be used to promote and spread the Gospel in this ‘digital age’. We will need equipment for the Alpha Course and for films, talks and other events planned. After discussion it was agreed that the professional company from Cardiff should be awarded the contract to supply the best we could afford, along with guarantees and support. Action (JC) There was also a discussion about a display facility for outside the church. Although agreed in principle, more investigation is needed about a) the best system to get, b) security issues and c) obtaining the necessary permissions from Historic Churches and the local authority Action (JC)
8. Youth Matters:
9. Reports from Members:
(EC) (a) The new ‘Here For All’ magazine is out with a story of the war-time experiences of a parishioner.
(b) At the ‘Churches Together’ Meeting there was a call to action over the 20 migrant families expected to come to Herefordshire from Syria.
(c) The Christmas Supper on 12th December will be a mix of Polish Food and Carols. Everyone welcome
(MB) The Harvest Supper was well supported and we made £138 for CAFOD.
(PW) (a) The Welcome Booklet has been completed, though as it is ‘in-house’ changes can easily be made. The suggestion that it should be presented in-side a ‘glossy’ cover was welcomed and agreed Action (DP), (PW).
(b) The Christmas Fair preparations are going well; items are coming in, the raffle tickets have been distributed to the school and Parish. However, it is disappointing to see so many left in pews last week. One note for future reference; the Council have asked for £230 for the hire of the Shirehall this year which is a huge increase on previous years. This will make a serious dent into our profits. Finally the Annexe will be reserved for Christmas Fair preparation as usual this year for the week, beginning 22nd November.
(SB) Written Report: Current collection for April – October 2015 = £37576 (1296/wk) v last year £36340 (£1253/wk).
Matters raised by Parishioners/AOB
(JC) We should be delighted about the turnaround in the numbers attending Mass and celebrate this by letting people know what a thriving Parish this is. (VV-W) agrees but we need more Stewards to keep Church open more often.
(EC) Speaking to strangers really helps. It was a lovely feeling when I arrived at Mass for the first time and Petal came across to say hello.
(MB) Plans for a Pre-Lent Party are taking shape.
Q: (VV-W) has been asked about parishioners attending School events.
A: Although parishioners are welcome to some events – the Summer Fete or Masses, space for many activities involving the children is limited and to avoid difficulties and disappointing parents unfortunately there have to be limits on numbers. (School will be in Church at the 10.00 am Christ the King Mass).
Q: Can the music for the new Mass be made available for the people to join in?
A: Yes, good idea
12. Dates of Next Meetings:
Thursday 17th December 2015 (7.15pm in Presbytery) (P/P)
Thursday 21st January 2016 (7.15pm in Presbytery)
Meeting ended at 8.40 pm with a prayer