About the ParishAn introduction
The Parish of Our Lady in Stowmarket is in the Diocese of East Anglia, which was carved out of the much larger Diocese of Northampton in March 1976. The Bishop has charge of the area which covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and the Unitary Authority of Peterborough. The Cathedral Church is that of St John the Baptist in St Giles Gate, Norwich, and the Bishop’s residence is in Poringland on the outskirts of the city.
Most of the parishes in the diocese are like Our Lady’s in Stowmarket – geographically very extensive and with small Catholic numbers in relation to the total population. For example, in Suffolk, Catholics count for little more than four per cent of the total. However, the proportion is increasing as people move in from other parts of the country and abroad.
The diocese is divided into Deaneries and Stowmarket, together with the parishes of Brandon, Bury St Edmunds, Clare, Diss, Hadleigh, Haverhill, Newmarket, Sudbury and Thetford, falls in that of St Edmund.
The area of Our Lady’s parish is the largest in the diocese, covering more than 500 square miles and including 83 villages. There is a Mass centre at Woolpit where the first Mass of Sunday is said on Saturday evenings at St Mary’s Parish Church (C of E).
In addition there are House Masses from time to time in other villages. Local Contacts (see Pastoral Group) help to keep the Parish Priest informed of the needs of our scattered community.