May 20 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 22, 2012
THE parish of Great Yarmouth has had a change of Roman Catholic priest for the first time in 13 years.
Father David Jennings has taken the helm of three churches; St Mary’s Church in Regent Road, Yarmouth, St Edmunds in Acle and St Ignatius in Caister.
He replaces Father Gordon Williams, who served from 1999 and has taken over Our Lady of Pity Church in Swaffham.
The 55-year-old, who has a bright sense of humour and has served in Peterborough and Wymondham previously, said: “The people here are lovely, I immediately felt at home.
“The atmosphere is wonderful. The people are just good, honest folk, the traders say ‘hello Father’ as you walk past and there are signs everywhere of a welcoming community.”
Father Jennings sits on both the Diocese of East Anglia’s Commission for Dialogue and Unity and it’s safeguarding office for children and vulnerable adults.
He was born and raised in Surrey Street in Norwich; studied at St John’s Seminary at the village of Wornesh, Surrey, and was ordained in 1993.
His plans for the parish include furthering understanding and communication between different cultures.”
“The Catholic Church should be a major contributory factor in the community” commented Father Jennings. “My first priority, after getting to know the parish, will be to develop the relationships with other churches and faiths.
“All inter-religion dialogue is about understanding people’s cultures and customs; this will dissipate fear and anxiety. If the church can be instrumental in that, I will be pleased.”
Father Jennings’ first placing was at Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church in Cambridge. In 1997 he was appointed parish priest of Wymondham and, in 2003, to St Peter and All Souls, Peterborough.
In Peterborough, he was faced with a “very big, very multicultural parish,” with 75 nationalities and six languages commonly being spoken among the congregation of 1,800.
He led a team of four priests, whereas in Yarmouth he will work alone.
“It was a very different ball game,” said Father Jennings.
“Hopefully, my experience will benefit the community here. I am quite looking forward to it.”
He was made a freeman of the city of Peterborough, and was commended by the city’s authorities for having “a unique ability to unite people from different backgrounds and faiths for the good of the city,” and for being “instrumental in creating a brotherhood between the churches and the leaders of other religions in the city.”