Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Vital things

I’ve been remembering Fr Ken O’Riordan a lot over the last few days.

It was almost exactly seven years ago that I posted:

I’d encountered Ken’s creative opening up of the Bible before I came here ten years ago, and he was the Catholic parish priest here when I arrived; he read one of the lessons at my licensing service. Everything from the creation of the North East Lincolnshire Credit Union as Churches Together’s Jubilee Millennium project to the striking reordering of St Pius’ church seemed to be down to him.

He had moved on to a final role coordinating adult education for the Catholic diocese, something for which he was especially suited, and I guess there are people today who will still benefit from catechists whose imagination he caught as he trained them how to teach and enable others.

He retired the following year and succumbed to a sudden aggressive cancer only two years later.

Now, within a few days of each other, it has been announced that the Credit Union has failed and that St Pius’ is to close.
The Credit Union was the product of a millennium project for our local churches and grew from an awareness of the principle of Jubilee.  The reordering of St Pius’ was the product of application of the principles in Vatican II documents. 

How we cry out for renewing creative application of first-principles in the social and worshipping life of our churches.  How sad that these parts of this legacy of his are being lost.

It isn’t public why the Credit Union has failed, although it is clear that the 600 or so members will not lose their money.  To state the obvious, it is not a helpful symbolic development at a time when the church seeks to promote the idea that pay-day lenders and loan sharks need undermining.

It is public that the Catholics in North East Lincolnshire will be served by just one priest in a few weeks time and that he can only say Mass in three churches over a weekend.  So two of the present five churches will become unused, which I know to be a traumatic outcome for some of those who have invested so much creativity, emotion, money, prayer and time in them.

Meanwhile, the pictures are of a sculpture by the Swiss artist who genuinely has the name Not Vital among many things which we enjoyed discovering during a return visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park recently.  

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