The Bishop of Portsmouth has established a new ‘personal parish’ in the town of Reading for Catholics attached to the Traditional Latin Mass, the first of its kind in Great Britain.
The new parish, which will be served by priests from the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP), is dedicated to St John Fisher. The fraternity have had a presence at St William of York Church in Reading for the past 17 years. The new parish will continue to be based at the church until a permanent home is found.
A personal parish does not have any defined geographic area but rather consists of Catholics who follow a particular rite or style of worship, or speak a language different from the majority population.
Bishop Philip Egan said: “I am keen that in the Diocese of Portsmouth everyone has the opportunity to experience and participate in the full range of the Roman Liturgy to nourish their spiritual life and discipleship.”
“I am very grateful to the FSSP for their presence, prayer and ministry in Reading,” he added. “By establishing them as a Personal Parish, I hope and pray that the Lord will give their mission new energy and vitality in bringing many more people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church.”
The FSSP’s Superior General, Fr Andrzej Komorowski, said the establishment of the parish represented a “very important step” for the fraternity.
“This is the first such parish in the UK and only the FSSP’s fourth in Europe after Rome, Amsterdam and Thalwil, Switzerland,” he said.
Fr Matthew Goddard, who will serve as the first Parish Priest, said: “The establishment of this Parish affirms the legitimacy, vitality and stability of our Church community.”
“Furthermore, it demonstrates the Diocese of Portsmouth’s pastoral care for those who wish to attend Mass according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal,” he added.