CHURCHgoers have spoken out against friars and nuns replacing their parish priest and holding church services in Latin.
St Mary’s Catholic Church, in Gosport, is the new home to Father Serafino Lanzetta – an Italian Franciscan friar who leads the masses with a community of Franciscan friars and nuns.
I don’t know any other church that has nuns or monks so why should we?Member of congregation
As part of the change, some of the Sunday service is held in Latin, much to the dislike of some members of the congregation.
Mr Lanzetta was brought in after annual changes made by Bishop Philip Egan saw Father Peter Glas move on.
A 54-year-old member of St Mary’s Church, in the town centre said she has considered leaving because of the changes.
The parishioner, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I have been going to this church for years and these changes aren’t wanted. Part of the service is in Latin which I don’t like.
‘It seems the Bishop of Portsmouth does what he likes without thinking of the congregation.
‘I know some of the older members of the church like the changes because it is what they grew up with. But as a younger member, I don’t like it.
‘I don’t know any other church that has nuns or monks so why should we?
‘It is hard to follow the service in Latin and I doubt many people living in Gosport understand it.’
Another member of the congregation, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said: ‘It was a shock when we were told because it was so unusual. It seems to have been thrust upon us. We are all sad to see Father Glas go and I wish we did have a say in who took over from him.’
A statement from the Diocese of Portsmouth said it was standard practice for priests to move parishes. It added it was common in a Catholic diocese that a bishop might ask a religious order to provide pastoral ministry.
Bishop Philip Egan said: ‘The friars will continue to ensure St Mary’s is open for prayer, and will build on the wonderful evangelisation in which the parish is already engaged.’