More Masses for St Matthew’s

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Home > Media > News > More Masses for St Matthew’s
More Masses for St Matthew’s

For the first time in more than 30 years, the small congregation of St Matthew’s Church, Pontville, can attend Mass each Sunday of the month in their local church, thanks to the prayerful discernment of the parish council and the energy of parish administrator Fr Leo Zenarosa MLCC.

The church, which celebrated its 150th anniversary two years ago, has gone from Mass only once a month in 2015 to now hosting a 10.30am Mass each Sunday.

Parish administrator Fr Leo Zenarosa MLCC says the move to increase Masses was made after prayer and consulting the parish’s pastoral council.

“I was telling [the parishioners]: ‘I am still young – I can do that [celebrate Mass each Sunday] as long as you want,’” Fr Leo said.

When Fr Leo arrived in the parish in 2015, St Matthew’s Church only held Mass on the first Sunday of the month. This gradually increased to the third Sunday, the fourth Sunday, and any fifth Sundays.

Most parishioners travelled to attend 9am Mass in Bridgewater’s St Paul’s Church when Mass was not held at St Matthew’s Church.

However, Fr Leo says he noticed that some of the older parishioners were not travelling to Bridgewater, particularly during winter.

So, after further prayer and consultation, the second Sunday was also added to St Matthew’s Mass schedule, making it a full complement.

Fr Leo says he will continue saying Mass in the church each week for “as long as [parishioners] want”.

Prior to each Sunday Mass, the local Legion of Mary lead a rosary in the church.

Parish council chairperson Pam Clark says there is a sense within the congregation of not wanting to lose the close connection parishioners have with St Paul’s Church and that some St Matthew’s Church faithful may choose to go there for Mass occasionally.

Parishioners reportedly clapped when the extra Mass was announced in December.

Perhaps they were thinking of the extra morning tea they would have a month after the additional Mass, in keeping with the congregation’s practice of gathering in a small room at the back of the presbytery to enjoy cakes, sandwiches and each other’s company.

The room is “pocket-sized but you can fit a few people”, says Pam Clark.

“Every Sunday after Mass we have a cuppa and invite visitors to come in. We sometimes have a few strangers come along.”

Just before Christmas, a ramp was installed to allow better access to the room.