Our Lady in Stowmarket is one of 34 parishes around the Diocese which have begun or completed projects using Alive in Faith funds.
This parish’s facilities were previously quite restricted in terms of the space available. It had a long-term need to expand capacity for the community and for its many different groups. In particular it needed to improve access for the disabled.
The hall above the church at Our Lady’s was originally the church itself up until the 1970s. Then the church was moved downstairs, and the hall created in its place.
It has a beautiful timber vaulted ceiling and is a good spacious area, but the toilets were in poor condition and the kitchen area was non-compliant with modern regulations and beyond refurbishment. One major issue was access up the stone stairs to the hall, which made it inaccessible to any non-agile parishioners.
An architect was commissioned, and various options considered. Eventually a suitable location for the lift was identified, and after consultation the proposal was agreed with the parish.
Thanks to £23,000 funding raised through Alive in Faith, this ambition has now been realised. The hall above the church has been refurbished, with the installation of a lift for the disabled, a new kitchen, toilets and a storeroom.
The Alive in Faith Funds have also supported seminarians and social outreach projects.
We have been blessed with two ordinations this year. Father Peter Wygnanski was ordained in July 2020 and has gone on to further studies in Rome. Deacon Andrew Neate from Cromer was ordained to the priesthood in September 2020 and is now Parish Priest at St Anthony of Padua, Fakenham. We have just had four young men start their first year in seminary, making a total of eight seminarians being formed for the priesthood, with the support of Alive in Faith.
Social Outreach Grants
A number of Social Outreach Grants have been made, including one to support the establishment of a prayer and listening ministry for married couples in need of support. Volunteers have been recruited and their training will commence shortly. A grant was also given to the Order of Secular Franciscans to support their work in helping the homeless in Norwich through provision of vouchers for breakfast at the Salvation Army centre. A grant has also been made to the Via Beata project to pay ex-offenders at Emmaus, Ditchingham, to undertake the fabrication of a waypost along this East-West pilgrimage route (which goes from Lowestoft to David’s, Wales) within St George’s parish, Norwich. If you, or an organisation you work with have a proposal for consideration, and the support of your parish priest, then please do apply for a grant. Grant application forms can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org
The Diocese continues to be most grateful for the unstinting generosity towards the Alive in Faith campaign, particularly at this difficult time of the pandemic. Contributions are having a very great impact on the life of the Diocese. The total amount pledged by some 3,500 individuals stands at £6.3 million. Total income received so far is £5.3 million. Total expenditure disbursed to the end of November 2020 is some £2.3 million.
Pictured above is Parish Priest Fr Simon Leworthy inside the new lift
You can download the full Alive in Faith Newsletter from the link below.