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London: Jesuits to hand parish back to archdiocese

 Corpus Christi Parish, Brixton Hill, south London, is to be handed back to the Archdiocese of Southwark after 25 years of being in the care of the Jesuits. The British Provincial of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) made the announcement at all Sunday Masses at Corpus Christi, having met with the Parish Council on the Saturday afternoon. Since 1980, the Jesuits have been serving the parish at the request of the then Archbishop of Southwark, Michael Bowen. The Jesuit Provincial, Fr David Smolira SJ, said that "Looking back over the last 25 years I can unequivocally state how proud the Jesuits are to have been associated with such an energetic and dynamic parish." Fr Smolira went on to point out its many strengths: " the rich mix of races and cultures who worship and socialise together; the real sense of welcome and the genuinely caring community that exists; the first rate sacramental programmes and the large number of other groups that flourish here; the superb level of collaboration that takes place between the priests and the lay people who play such an active and enthusiastic role in the parish; the wonderful primary school and its contribution to parish life; and so much more." The Jesuit Provincial was accompanied by Monsignor Richard Moth, the Vicar General of the Southwark Archdiocese. On behalf of the current Archbishop, Kevin McDonald, he expressed the deep appreciation for the work that the Jesuits had done in Corpus Christi over the past 25 years. Fr Smolira characterised the Jesuit vocation in terms of "mission", explaining that this meant being sent where the need is greatest, where the work is not being done by others and where God can best be served. The withdrawal from some of the Jesuits' more established works will enable the development of new initiatives to better serve the needs of the Church of today and tomorrow. Although the Jesuits will no longer be running the parish in Brixton Hill, they will still be present in the parish as they are retaining their two nearby houses of Formation (Jesuits in training). The date for the handover is expected to be in the late summer of 2005. Source: Jesuit Communications Office