Last Sunday morning I visited our local Roman Catholic Church. Its at the end of my road. I’m trying to build in my mind a picture of the Christian community in Torry.
I’d no idea of what to expect, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Not being able to find my keys meant that I was entering through the church door half way through the opening hymn…the two priests had just reached the ‘stage’ beside the altar and began this service.
This first service, 9.30, was the ‘English Service’ – conducted by the parish priest in English. The next, at 11.00 was lead by the other priest and was the Polish Service. Around 35 people gathered for the English Service and close to 200 gathered for the Polish service. My heart was strangely warmed to see so many young adults flock to church. You’ll have picked up from my blog before that I am not conviced about much of the Roman Church. I am still not, but my experience of the Sacred Heart, Torry, Roman Catholic Church is that there are some good kingdom signs here.
The service was Christ centred, the homily was biblical, the fellowship was warm and, to my joy, we prayed to the Father and not to any saints or to Mary. This was good. Also, there were many normal people here. I know for sure, from experience, that there are a good deal of nominal catholics, but here, I believe I spoke to several authentic Christians.
My suspicion, though, is that the church, certainly in its English work, is struggling to reach local Scots and less religious Poles. I guess its down to the fact of focussing on the catholic community rather than seeking to draw in others. Reports online have confirmed that the Polish immigrant community have in fact saved the church from closure in recent years.
Sadly, my experience at the local brethren church, for their 11.30am service, wasn’t quite as interesting, but it takes all sorts!
In the words of our local RC priest, ‘God has his hand on Torry.’