Bishop visiting on Sunday to celebrate parish amalgamation

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THE BISHOP of Brighton and Arundel will be the guest of honour at a special church service on Sunday to mark the joining together of two parishes.

The Rt Reverend Kieran Conry will be guest of honour at St Thomas of Canterbury in Magdalen Road for the special amalgamation mass.

Father Ian Byrnes.

Father Ian Byrnes.

It will mark the coming together St Thomas parish and the Holy Reedemer in Upper Church Road.

The parishes are being merged after a major consultation exercise involving all parishioners.

Holy Redeemer does not have its own parish priest.

It is administered by Father Ian Byrnes, who has been parish priest of St Thomas since 2006.

Now 66, the aim is to try and reduce Father Ian’s busy workload with the amalgamation leading to one less mass over the weekend.

Parishioners voted for the new joint name to be The Parish of the Good Shepherd, the only one in the Diocese.

Father Ian, now 66, said: “We needed to look at the masses and the numbers attending. Sometimes there were less than 50 people

attending the 6.30pm mass at Holy Redeemer

“It means I will be doing one less mass at the weekend. It will also give me more time to carry out my pastoral duties.

“The Good Shepherd name is the only one in the diocese and we didn’t know that before we chose it.

“I was pleased with the response with two thirds voting for the new times of masses.

“I am looking forward to welcoming Bishop Kieran to our new parish which will be a very special day for all involved.”