The Diocese of Westminster is to establish a Diocesan Centre for Youth Ministry at St Aloysius parish, Somers Town, near Euston.
In a statement, the Diocese says: "The Centre will provide a more visible 'shop front' for diocesan youth provision and provide help for parishes throughout the diocese in accompanying young people through the challenges of adolescence, the discernment of their vocation, and their transition into the world of work as well as further and higher education."
It has also been announced that as from January 2011, Fr Jim McNicholas, parish priest of St Aloysius, Somers Town, will become parish priest of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St John the Evangelist parish in Bushey, Hertfordshire.
Fr Michael O'Boy is to be the new parish priest of St Aloysius, Somers Town. Fr Michael O'Boy is a past pupil of both St Aloysius infant and junior schools. He is the Director of the Diocese of Westminster's Agency for Evangelisation and has been involved in the development of the diocese's youth provision. As such he is uniquely placed to initiate the proposed collaboration between Somers Town and the diocese.
The choice of Somers Town means that the Diocesan Centre for Youth Ministry will be located in a parish which is readily accessible to people from across the diocese. This includes parishes in Hertfordshire which are served by train services to Euston and Kings Cross.
From autumn 2011 it is envisaged that the Diocesan Youth Chaplain will also reside at Somers Town. Although not formally attached to the parish, the Diocesan Youth Chaplain would informally support the work of the parish, particularly its outreach to young people.
In a letter to parishioners of St Aloysius, Archbishop Vincent Nichols paid tribute to the dedicated service of Fr Jim McNicholas. He said:
'My first words therefore are words of thanks, thanks to Fr Jim for his ministry among you. After so many years of dedicated service, where joys and sorrows have been shared, and friendships forged, I am particularly conscious of the sadness that will surround Fr Jim's move. So, as well as asking your prayers for Fr Jim, I would like to assure you of my prayers for you.'
He also said that the plan to establish a Centre for Youth Ministry would have benefits for the parish, as well as for the diocese: 'I am confident that the establishment of the Centre for Youth Ministry at Somers Town will not only strengthen the Diocese's provision for young people, but will also lend itself to the growth and development of St Aloysius' outreach to the young people in its midst. Invoking the intercession of St Aloysius, patron of the young, I ask the Lord's blessing on each of you and your families.'
Source: Archbishops' House