Since St Alban’s church in Hollybush Lane, Barrow, lost its independent status it became part of the Catholic parish of St Gregory’s Sileby. In September we welcomed our new parish priest Fr Clement Orango. He replaced Fr, Anthony Pateman who was our parish priest for 23 years and has now retired from his responsibilities as a parish priest. Fr Clement’s induction took place in Sileby and Syston on 28th November 2015, when he was formally appointed as parish priest by Bishop Patrick McKinney of our Nottingham Catholic Diocese. Fr. Clement now shares his feelings and experiences as our new priest. (Kathryn Timmins )
Having served for 8 years as the priest in charge of Bourne and Deeping Catholic Parish in Lincolnshire, I have just arrived in Leicestershire to serve as parish priest for Syston and Sileby (including Barrow and other surrounding villages). I came from South Sudan where I was working as a Comboni Missionary and arrived in England in December 2007. Faced with too few priests for so many parishes, Bishop Malcolm of our Nottingham Catholic Diocese welcomed me into the diocese and sent me to work in Bourne and Deeping parish. I really felt nervous! I was unsure of what to do since I knew I was coming from a different culture and experience. I felt what a massive change having worked in a rural parish in South Sudan and my duties there, compared with this new next challenge to work in a parish in rural Lincolnshire! I spoke from my heart and asked people to help me learn how to do things in the parish. Since I felt the parish was my new family, I apologised many times and I was not afraid to admit my mistakes. In a nutshell, people in my Lincolnshire parish treated me very well and I felt very much loved. With this background, I have just arrived in my new parish to meet and encounter new people and experiences. I feel that I am open to change and to learn how to do things here. I sincerely thank Fr. Anthony Pateman, my able and much loved predecessor, and I request that as a sign of gratitude for his good work over the years, we pray for his happy and peaceful retirement.
I am a new resident in my parish, and I fully realise that every person and place is unique and different! The people who live over here are not the same as the people who live in Bourne and Deeping. Without taking anything and anyone for granted, I am very much aware how important it is to learn from and listen to people’s unique needs, experiences and priorities. Listening is a key message/mission that I feel I have been tasked to do in Syston and Sileby/Barrow Catholic Parishes! To highlight this point, one of the Bourne and Deeping Parishioners gave me a farewell gift which is a statue depicting “a listening mouse.” I was pleasantly surprised. To some creatures, “listening” is the most essential weapon they have to defend themselves against the aggressor. This little statue is sitting in my lounge by the television. It is now my quiet room where I retire for silence and peace! I do not want the television to take over most of my time and life. I pray that the graces of the holy Advent and Christmas seasons will help us all to be good listeners.
I am already feeling at home over here and am truly grateful for the warm welcome and support I am receiving from the people in my new parish. I am just discovering Leicestershire and one of the ways I am doing this is taking long walks across villages on my day off.
To our brothers and sisters from different Churches, I assure you of my prayers for your intentions and I look forward to meeting you and praying with you. We certainly have a duty to spread the Gospel of Christ even if, as followers of Christ, we remain the minority in this country.
Fr Clement Orango