Updates: St Saviour & St Mary of the Angels
Updated: 04 February 2024
28 January 2024
Update: A further £1,800 (plus VAT) has been required this past week to secure parts and advice on installation. My discernment is certainly guiding me towards relocating the Vigil Mass. I will say more about this at the Vigil Mass at St Saviour on Saturday evening.
When I arrived as parish priest in August of 2021, I was warned about the biomass heating system at St Saviour. I was told that invariably it ensured that it was freezing in Winter and roasting in Summer. Over the past two and a half years, by my recollection, the heating has worked perhaps as many as five weekends, but no more than that. Moreover, the solutions to fixing the biomass heating system have been costly - without producing the end result of a functioning heating system.
When the Diocesan Limited Company ran the Social Club, we shared the costs of any repairs, but since the Diocese withdrew last year, all those costs have been borne by the parish. The ultimate solution of removing the biomass heating system and replacing with an alternative is well beyond the financial capabilities of the parish. Further, the site survey conducted in 2023 indicated that on the face of it, total repairs to St Saviour in the amount of over £450,000 were observed and reported. Since the Summer when I was keen to use the warmer weather to ensure, in advance, that the heating would work at St Saviour for the Winter, we have had the biomass heating system company engineers out some twelve times.
The costs involved - just since July 2023 to try to remedy the faults and get the system working effectively - have cost the parish over £8,000. And we still do not have a working heating system.In my planning and considering what the best course of action I would guide the parish towards, I thought of moving the 5pm vigil Mass to St Mary of the Angels. The heating at St Mary of the Angels is excellent and efficient, but the size of the Church would not accommodate the numbers of those who attend the vigil Mass. I had considered, and had initial conversations with the Chair of Governors and the Headteacher of St Saviour Catholic Primary School to ask if I might celebrate Mass there. But to offer the Mass in the school would not be ideal, nor would it be as worthy as offering the Mass in a Church with an Altar and Tabernacle. I am still giving thought to moving the vigil Mass at 5pm to Our Lady Star of the Sea which, like St Mary of the Angels, has excellent and efficient heating and, happily, has the capacity to accommodate the numbers of those attending the vigil - and more besides - should the Mass be offered at Our Lady Star of the Sea. I must give this serious thought.
At some point soon, we must stop spending thousands and thousands of pounds on an inadequate heating system that shows no sign of being both repairable and functioning.
I hope this update gives both background and context to the present lack of heating.
The Four Cottages at Hoton
As parishioners are aware, the four cottages by St Mary of the Angels are owned by the parish and provide a modest income of rent. However, with rental income comes the responsibilities of a landlord and the associated costs. I informed the Finance Committee this past week that the Diocese have instructed repairs on one of the cottages in the amount of £22,000. I have made enquiries as to whether this amount will need to be spent on the other three cottages; remember that we also rent out the presbyteries at St Saviour and St Mary of the Angels. One can see the significant costs: I will keep you informed.