Bournemouth Oratory Appeal



Over the past year, during the time that I have been recovering from illness, the Bournemouth Oratory-in-Formation has generously welcomed me to celebrate Mass in the beautiful Church of the Sacred Heart every day, and have become good friends in what is sometimes an isolated existence while I wait for accommodation in my own Archdiocese. They have recently launched an appeal which I am keen to pass on to you in case you may be able to help.

Bishop Philip Egan, a sound and courageous Bishop, has encouraged the Oratory, not only by giving them the Sacred Heart Church as a permanent home, but in supporting them in an ambitious plan to develop their work and become:
  • A powerhouse of prayer
  • A focus for formation in the faith
  • A hub for the community in the heart of Bournemouth
The Community has increased the availability of daily Mass and provides regular daily times for confession, twice-weekly times for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as “Oratory”, the twice daily time of silent prayer which takes place in the Church and is open to all. The Church itself is open from 6.30am to 6.30pm every day: no mean feat in the centre of a busy town with all its attendant activities, needs, and problems.

Now that they are back in their home, (see “Problems” below) the Community has taken on more activity including the chaplaincy of the large and thriving Bournemouth University – already the students are beginning to come to the Church for particular activities, especially Catholic formation. In addition to this, the Community has provided a home to the Academy of the Annunciation which has just started its activities.

Bournemouth is a lovely town on the South Coast of England. It is home to a thriving business community, major Conference Centre, its own Symphony Orchestra and rich cultural life. It is also home to a significant number of homeless and needy people, a worrying drug problem with all the petty crime that it generates, and plenty of people who need the welcome and the food that a thriving parish can help with. The initiative “Hope for Food” which the community hosted as soon as they arrived, feeds as many as 100 people on several nights of the week.

Problems

In June 2018, not long after they arrived, the boilers failed in the Oratory House and then it was found that the water had a serious bacterial infection which was already causing respiratory problems. At short notice, they had to move out into flats, two of which were generously provided by parishioners. After the delays so customary in major projects (it was also found that the electrical wiring was 70 years old and also needed replacing) the Community was finally able to move back into their house this autumn. Since then, they have been burgled twice and have had to install extra security so that the house does not provide an opportunity for burglars to smash their way into the Church.

Opportunities

Underneath the Church there is a large area with a Hall that is currently used for the “Hope for Food” project. Currently the space is not used to its full potential; there are many areas that could be brought into use. The plan is to remodel the whole area, make it accessible, and create facilities for a conference centre which can be used for catechesis and formation, a restaurant, bookshop and better offices for the administration of the parish.

See brochure

At the Oratory website, you can see more information on the great work that the community is doing. If you want, you can see the live stream of everything that happens in the Church 24/7. You can also read the full brochure on the Oratory Redevelopment Appeal.

Make a donation

If you are able to help the Bournemouth Oratory, you will be supporting a worthwhile apostolate with its attendant works of charity. You will also make me feel that I have done something to repay the kindness of the community in giving me a place to celebrate Mass every day. Here are the links:

Donate in UK pounds

Donate in US dollars via paypal

Donate in Euro via paypal

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