A FIVE-YEAR pastoral commitment to the full integration of the laity in the life of the Church in East Anglia Diocese is outlined in the report Deepening and Widening Our Faith, published this week.
In the report Bishop Alan Clark of East Anglia calls on all the parishes to form pastoral councils and working parties for the study of issues facing the diocese such as lay ministry, evangelisation and the shortage of priests.
Plans for a widespread shakeup in diocesan structures were agreed at a unique diocesan council convened last year by the bishop. One of the proposals, the forming of a diocesan pastoral council to help with legislation to meet the needs of the local church, has already been implemented with the appointment of 160 priests and laity to the new body.
"Now that East Anglia is expanding so rapidly, it is calculated that the Catholic population here will increase by more than 30,000 in the next ten years. That is the size of the challenge we are facing", says Fr Gary Dowsey, Bishop Clark's Secretary.