A Catholic church in Aberdeen, Scotland, that would otherwise have been been facing closure, will now remain open thanks to community appeals - and in particular an influx of new parishioners from Poland.
The situation illustrates the increasing iterdependence between the Catholic church across Britain and migrant workers from other predominantly Catholic European states. Recognising this, the church has embraced justice issues involving migration, and is concerneed to welcome and nurture the new congregants.
Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen announced this week that after a thorough consultation, he has decided to keep the church of Sacred Heart, Torry, Aberdeen open. The presbytery house will be sold to provide funding for works needing to be done in the church and to improve parish facilities.
In a letter written to parishioners and friends of Sacred Heart, Torry, the Bishop of Aberdeen declared: "Your church of the Sacred Heart will not be closed: indeed I plan to repair it and improve it.
He added: "The Catholic community in Torry has proved that it is in good heart, both the small Scottish nucleus and the larger community of recent arrivals from Poland. You have fought a good fight and shown your spirit."
Bishop Moran went on: "[T]he financing of even the minimum repairs is a huge challenge. After serious consideration of several proposed schemes, I have decided that we must sell the presbytery house."
The Catholic leader concluded his letter by thanking all those who have contributed to the discussions, inside or outside the parish community.
He wrote: "It has been a long and sometimes painful process, and some of you may still feel disappointed. I ask you to rally round my decision, to look ahead positively, and to play your part in revitalising the parish of Sacred Heart."
In August 2006 Bishop Moran spoke personally to a meeting of parishioners at Sacred Heart Church, Torry, to tell them that advice he had received pointed to closure of the church building and said that alternative premises had already been identified in nearby Scottish Episcopal Church buildings.
With thanks to Independent Catholic News and the Diocese of Aberdeen.