The Sharing of the Church

For many years the Catholic community attempted to establish itself in Ruabon:

‘From a tiny family -perhaps the least in God’s household – of five or six, we have lovingly watched Our Lady’s family grow in the service of her Divine Son. Now our gathering in the bare loft we hire for Holy Mass seldom numbers less than 90.’

These words form part of a ‘Petition for the building of a new church in Ruabon’ , presented by the Catholics in Ruabon, to Bishop Petit of Menevia, from the Duke of Wellington Inn, Ruabon, 22 January 1953. In 1957 Bryn Hall was purchased for use as a church and the first Mass was said on the feast of St Richard Gwyn, the local Welsh martyr. However, during the next twenty years serious structural faults were discovered and the building unhappily had to be abandoned as being unsafe. We are ecumenically-minded in Ruabon and the most exciting thing that has happened is the inauguration of a sharing agreement between the Anglican and Roman Catholic congregations. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Menevia and the Anglican Bishop of St Asaph were present when the Sharing Agreement was inaugurated by a joint service of Evensong on Sunday 20 January 1980 during Christian Unity Week. Both bishops warmly welcomed and endorsed the sharing and gave it their blessing. As we have seen, the possibility of sharing arose because of the dilapidated state of St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church. It seemed hypocritical, foolish and uncharitable for £100,000 to be spent on the building of a new church. We have put into practice the famous dictum of Cardinal Mercier, ‘We cannot love each other if we do not meet each other’ .The Roman Catholics use the north chapel as the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. We share all things, cleaning, grass-cutting, the cost of insurance and church maintenance. On occasions we worship together and run joint social events. The administration of the church is the responsibility of a joint council composed of Roman Catholic and Anglican members. 

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