St Mary Newhouse
St Mary Newhouse

Steering Committee Minutes 1st May 2022

Minutes of the Steering Committee of Representatives from:

Our Lady & St. Edward’s, St. Mary’s Newhouse, and St. Mary’s Fernyhalgh


OLSE: Bernard Walmsley (Chair), Stephen Garsed, Emma McGrath.

SMN: Pauline Noblet, Mark Lamory, John Bleasdale                                                        Fernyhalgh: Sue Gornall, Christine Legge, Ted Donnelly                                    Apologies: Hilary Smith, Michaela Alison, Maureen Catherall


Bernard welcomed members and opened the meeting with a prayer. Fr Ernest thanked members for coming together and explained that the purpose was to promote greater collaboration between the three parishes, to mutual benefit.


1.Monthly Spiritual Devotion: It was acknowledged that this has been taking place since 2021 with the monthly devotions to St. Joseph and currently with the monthly Rosary Services, both of which rotate between the parishes. These are welcomed and the intention is to continue. Ted asked if they could revert to being on the same day each month, a factor which will be taken into consideration when planning for 2023.

2.Pilgrimage to Ladyewell: After discussion it was agreed that in the current year all three parishes would promote the Diocesan Pilgrimage on July 9th, which in recent years has been poorly attended, in contrast to pilgrimages of other organisations from out of town. Stephen suggested that a theme for the pilgrimage would encourage support. It was agreed that “world peace” would be appropriate. Fr Ernest will contact the bishop with the suggestion. An article in the Catholic Voice was also suggested. Information about the pilgrimage will be circulated by Sue at Fernyhalgh.

3.Annual Social Event: Fr Ernest told members that he would like us to arrange joint social activities. He spoke about his recently formed charity, “The World Family Peace Foundation” and asked for support from the three parishes. Emma, as a founder member and chair explained that they were hoping to support the victims of Boko Haram in Maiduguri, via Bishop Oliver, who is known to Fr Ernest. Members were in support of the idea of a joint social and fund raising event this summer and would take the idea to their parish councils.

4.Health & Safety: The use of facemasks in church was discussed and it was noted that this was now a matter for individuals. Practice does vary in the three churches. There is already alignment between the parishes regarding testing of appliances etc.

5.Improvements to the Liturgy: Stephen suggested that a livelier liturgy may encourage better attendance, but others commented that this may not meet with universal approval. Ted expressed concern over the demands placed on our priest during Holy Week, with three churches to cover. Fr Ernest appreciated his concern and suggested that next year they would consider reducing to having the Thursday, Friday and Saturday services at OLSE and at either SMN or SMF.

6.Effective Communication Strategy: The idea of a joint newsletter was mentioned but not explored. It was agreed that for now members would exchange ideas via email.

7.Date of next meeting: Tuesday September 13th @ 7pm at SMF. It was agreed that Bernard would chair these meetings for the rest of this year.


Fr Ernest thanks everyone for their attendance.


The Word of Mercy

Parish Clergy:

Fr. Augustine Obiagwu (Priest in Charge) and

Fr. Francisco Ulogu 

at St Mary's, Fernyhalgh

Telephone: mostly via the Sisters on 07934 222978 or 01772 862437

but also via Fernyhalgh parish on 01772 862231


Parish Sisters: 

Sister Sheinrose La Torre and Sister Monique

belonging to congregation St. Paul of Chartres.

at The Convent (formerly OLSE presbytery).

Tel: 07934 222978 or 01772 862437 



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