By a Staff Reporter
At least half the Catholics of St. Margaret's-on-Thames parish, East Twickenham. are practising. and half those
attending Sunday Mass there last month came from outside the parish.
Statistics were gathered in a household census requested by Cardinal Heenan and a Mass count for which each individual was given a brief questionnaire.
Fr. Desmond Swan, the parish priest, estimated the rate of practice from the attendance figures. It compares favourably with a 36 per cent average for England and Wales, quoted by the Laity Commission.
Fr. Swan said: "The reason for the high number attending Mass from outside the parish is very simple — a lively liturgy."
St. Margaret's had the advantage of being a modern building, which helped it avoid "the glum Gothic of the traditional liturgy of the past. It is a Vatican 11 church designed for a Vatican 11 liturgy."
The census found 1,050 selfdeclared Catholics living in the parish, 600 of whom said they attended Mass there on Sunday. They were not asked how often.
A further 135 went to Mass elsewhere. Only 44 per rent. or 430 of the 980 who attended Mass at St. Margaret's on Sunday, May 6, were found to come from the parish.
The numbers attending from each age group closely mirrored the numbers in each age group in the general population of the area. Those coming from outside included more young people.
More women than men declared themselves Catholic. The census report points out that it is easier for Catholic girls to marry non-Catholic husbands than for Catholic men to take non-Catholic brides.
Mr. Niall Roberts, a statistician and member of the Parish in Council, said 90 per cent. of the calls made were well received by househelders.
Up to 80 parishioners helped make 5,700 calls, several visits often being necessary to find people at home. The Parish in Council has already planned to visit old people in the area,