St Robert’s Catholic Church Harrogate

Our Lady Immaculate and St Robert

Welcome to the Parish Council page.

St Robert's Church, like many Catholic Churches, has a Parish Pastoral Council which seeks to assist the Parish Priest in providing the ministry of St Robert's Church. The Council thus seeks to deal with questions of finance, plant, roles and responsibilities and most importantly, the spiritual life of the parish. Thus we always have a spiritual reflection to begin a meeting to focus our attention on the overriding purpose of why we are meeting: to build up the Church and Community in this place.



To be a truly serving faith community responding to the call of God where we all celebrate, care and support each other and are active in our Parish Community.


We will become fully aware of ourselves as a ‘Ministering Community’, all part of the Body of Christ. We recognize that, through Baptism, we each receive a calling from the Lord to work in our many different ways. We will feel spiritually encouraged to be active in our Parish Community.  We will be a gathering place where all feel welcome.


1)       The Parish Pastoral Council

The purpose of the Council is:

  • To be the Group which oversees all the activities in the Parish, guiding and directing it towards our vision of being a  ‘Ministering Community’.  The guiding ethic will be one of service to the Parish.

In fulfilling this purpose it will:

  • Provide effective guidance, leadership and decision making in the Parish
  • Take responsibility for delivering the changes which may be necessary to become a fully ‘Ministering Community’...and to oversee the progress of these changes
  • Be fully representative of the Parish Community it oversees.

It is envisaged that the current Council will therefore require re-constituting and will require a larger and more representative Group than at present.

2)       Ministry Groups

We will aim to strengthen our existing Ministry Groups, examining the particular call of each Ministry and the practicalities in exercising that call well.  Each Ministry Group will seek to enrich what it does for the Parish recognising that their chosen vocation is part of its calling from the Lord. It will seek to understand more deeply its purpose thereby serving the Parish in a more fulfilling way. These Ministries should embrace all of the activities of the Parish; every participating Parishioner should recognise that they are part of the spiritual family of St Roberts.

St Roberts should be served by the following Ministries:

1) Eucharistic ministers               2) Readers                     3) Sacramental preparation and Journey in Faith ministers                  4) Youth Ministry, Brownies, Guides and Children’s Liturgy                5) Music                6) Pastoral ministries – SVP, bereavement counselling, carers             7) Welcomers, cleaners, collectors, altar servers, flower arrangers                   8) Liturgy Group                   9) Bidding Prayer preparation                  10) Administrative groups e.g. Finance


Most of these are already active to varying degrees, others exist as a loose grouping of Parishioners, others need forming.




Over the next few weeks I plan to meet with as many of the existing Ministry Groups as I can to share my vision with you all and agree a way forward


Monsignor Donal Lucy


St Robert’s Church                     


MINUTES of  Meeting:  Tuesday, 4 March 2014, 730pm.

Present:  Mgr Donal, Fr John, Paul Barry, Nimmi D’Cunha, Peter Hannon, John Hughes, Andy Maslavekas, Barbara Macaulay, Francis McAllister, Paul Parker, Kath Plant, Anne-Marie Richards

Apologies:  Krzystof Dabrowski,  Kevin McNerney,  Paula Shanks.


1.     Welcome & Introductory Prayer                                   

Mgr Donal opened the meeting with a prayer.


2.     Spiritual Reflection                                                      

Nimmi D’Cunha  arranged for a video entitled ‘Lump’ by an American, Rob Bell.  This was a thought provoking session  concerning initially the appearance of a little white ball in a drawer. “Where did it come from?”.  The story reveals that the narrator’s little 6 yr old boy had ‘stolen’ the ball, and was very ashamed when found out.  Traumatised, he hid himself away.  His father finds him hiding and tells him that “nothing you can ever do, will make me love you less”.  In a similar way, nothing we can do can make God love us any less. Golf balls handed out at the beginning help us to keep that realization in mind.


3.     Minutes of Last Meeting (3/12/13)

Accepted and agreed.  The following items were discussed.


4.     Matters Arising: 

a.   Finance  - brief update from meeting held 13 Feb.  PJB gave a summary of the Finance Committee’s review following last September’s Offertory Appeal.  It has resulted in 9 new SOs, 4 new Planned Giving envelopes, and 14 new Gift Aided Donations (GADs). In discussing these figures the consensus was that there had been a reasonable response to the appeal with positive movement in SOs (up 10.8%), and GADs (up 8.4%).  Cash on the plate though, (ie non GAD income)  was 54% of the total monies received at St Robert’s, and 49% of SJF Chapel offerings for the last 4 months. A summary of progress will be inserted into the weekly bulletin during March, and Council also felt that there should be a brief word from the sanctuary also at all Masses one weekend.  (Action:  PJB / FMcA / KMcN to meet to plan that.)  

There is a need to drip feed this message, and Mgr Donal placed emphasis upon planned giving as the way forward. There was discussion regarding the many parents who send their children to  the catholic schools, but who do not make a financial contribution to the Offertory collections because they are non-attendees at church.  A Welcoming Letter to new parishioners who register with the Parish will be drawn up and would include information on the ways to make offertory donations (SO, envelope, GADs).  

Mgr Donal also mentioned that the Diocesan Budget (for a number of years showing a budget deficit in excess of £1m), had been agreed for the coming year and was forecast to produce a surplus of £250k.  This could/should lead in future to a reduction in Parish Levies (in our case £53,515 for 2013/14).

b.   Catholic Club Developments  -  AGM & Briefing to be held on 18 March, 830pm, at the Catholic Club.  All paid up members, and anyone else interested also, are requested to attend as plans and progress on the new club will be discussed after the AGM.  The Club has confirmed that the sale of 5, Robert Street to Catholic Care is due to be completed on Thursday, 20 March. Planning permission has been granted for 4 apartments to be created as sheltered accommodation for elderly residents, with a warden on site 24/7 to facilitate their semi-independent living.

c.   SVP:  Clothing Bank  -  Kate Rutherford, SVP President, has come to understand that the initiative to locate a clothing bank in our car park has now been cancelled.

d.   Election for  the  Chair of PPC  -  A very full debate was held, with Andy M. encouraging everyone to express their views on ‘taking office’ of Chair, vice chair, secretary.  Fr John emphasized that the role of chair was to facilitate and lead meetings, and Mgr D added that the role was also  necessary so that parishioners were aware of who was the Council leader.  For this reason the notion of a separate chair per meeting was discarded, and eventually several councillors indicated their ‘willingness’ to serve a one year term.  Given that there were absentees from the meeting, it was felt that they should be approached also, with one absent party carrying the support of those present as a suitable candidate to take over the reins from Andy M. immediately.  On that note, the chair was passed to Francis McA, who was willing to take up the chair in 12 months time, and act as vice chair in the meantime.  PJB indicated that he would be happy to remain as secretary to the council for a minimum of 2 years.  Action:  Mgr Donal to speak to the absent members on this.

e.   Eucharistic Ministry  -  any update?                      

Barbara had been away ‘down-under’ for much of the early year, and so no update as such, but

A lively discussion ensued anyway.  Mgr D. advised that there was to be a Deanery Day meeting of parish leaders on 15 March, and afterwards he would arrange a meeting of Eucharistic Ministers within the parish on Tuesday, 1st April, 730pm in the Church. More Eucharistic Ministers are to be commissioned shortly, and part of the problem is in ensuring that they are properly checked from a Safeguarding perspective.  Doreen Grant, (who replaced Pat O’Donnell RIP) is working valiantly to eliminate the backlogs.  BMac indicated that she would like to see sick / housebound parishioners receiving the Eucharist on a weekly rather than fortnightly basis, especially as some of these sick parishioners were themselves once daily Communicants.

f.   Any progress re.  proposed  Sunday 1130am Mass time change? 

Mgr D. had mentioned this idea at last meeting to see what people thought.  He has no plan to make a change now, though it could be a possibility in the future.


5.     Lenten Project 2014           

3 Applications were received by the deadline, and were discussed by the Finance Committee and Clergy at their recent meeting.  They were:

i.  Caring for Life   -  No specific purpose mentioned (assumed general funds). (Mrs Jane Evamy)

ii. SVP  -  i. Support Centre, Leeds (Debt Advice Service) & ii.  Green tree Project, South Sudan. (Vincent Naylor).   iii. Franciscan Friars, Bradford -  Refurbishment of Presbytery.  (Peter Hannon)


For various reasons the committee felt the 3 proposals were all wanting in one way or another, and either failed to meet the criteria set for a Lenten Project, or had been the recent beneficiary of the LP scheme in 2013.  The SVP  S. Sudan project was deemed untenable / not promotable given the very serious political instability and mass violence of recent times in that country. 

In discussing these applications, the progress of Sister Mary’s Masuku village scheme in Pemba,  Zambia (Lenten Project 2012) was mentioned.  Mgr Donal  indicated that there been no further progress since last summer’s update, and though the monies raised (£15K+) had purchased the land and had it surveyed, sunk the borehole and had the hand-pump installed, and constructed three houses,  the remaining five houses had not been started through lack of further finance.  As such, this project was incomplete.

The eight families originally chosen for this project were all working well together, and they have planted their corn etc and expect a good harvest, but 5 of the families remain to be adequately housed.  Members of the committee, in discussion, warmed to the idea of putting a proposition to the Parish that we should adopt it as our 2014 project, and as each house costs c.£3k a target of £15K should be well within our ability to achieve, and we could then look on this village as being entirely built through the generosity of St Robert’s over the two year period.

Following discussion, Council voted unanimously to support Sr Mary’s Masuku Village Project and brief the Parish this weekend.  Page 4 of the weekend’s Bulletin will be given over to the Lenten Project, and PJB will draft words for inclusion.  It was suggested that Kath Bayliss may be prepared to speak at each Mass, or if not others from Council may be able to help.  Andy Maslevakas will forward materials /photos he received last year to PJB. (Received. Thanks. Andy).  Andy also mentioned the Charity’s website (Pemba) which may carry information.  GAD envelopes are being prepared for the weekend.  Kath Plant has prepared an insert for the weekly bulletin, which will be used after this weekend’s message on page 4.


6.     Clergy Matters for discussion?

a.  Beverley House – flat 2 (upstairs) nearing completion of re-furbishment scheme. The work looks splendid.  One of the men involved has indicated a wish to occupy it, for 2 years, and has offered £800 per month. Mgr D. would accept a monthly rent of £850 and he will discuss this with the prospective tenant. This option will avoid agents’ fees etc.

b. Fr John Anderson’s flat is to be re-decorated at a cost of c.£2k soon.

c.  SJF Chapel heating – Progress being made, and work will commence soon.

d.  SJF Chapel Audio / Visual system.  Soon to be installed are 2 fixed screens on the front pillars and one mobile screen.  This will mean that the congregation will have a clear view of the altar and priest.


7.     Lenten Liturgy and beyond.

It was suggested that Stations by/for the Nations should be repeated  following the success of

this initiative in a previous Lenten period.  Friday, 11 April was identified as the appropriate date, and Francis McAllister will organize again, and contact non- English parishioners to participate.


8.     Catholic Further Education  Proposal                 (Peter Hannon)

PH had previously circulated members of council with his ideas for some form of further Catholic Education.  Given lateness of the evening, not too much discussion, but it was suggested that he might start something informally with a few like minded souls, and if  it works, he could consider putting an item in the Bulletin to seek out more people who may be interested in the proposition.  Let’s see how it develops as a small group first.

9.     Any Other Business:                    

a.   Proposal for a weekly meal at Parish Centre for Homeless &  Vulnerable Adults  (Corrina’s H & V Project).  PJB advised meeting that Corrina Young, a business woman in Harrogate, had formed a small charity to help homeless & vulnerable adults in Harrogate.  She had liaised closely with the Harrogate Homeless Project, who had offered support and advice.  With her supporters she wished to provide one evening meal a week, based upon a simple 5 week rolling menu (Stew, sausage and mash, pie and peas, etc).  She has been fund-raising and obtaining commitments from local business including food donations. The problem she has been trying to overcome is a suitable town centre premises. She approached St Robert’s to see whether the Parish Centre could be used once a week.  A meeting was arranged with the Centre Administrator, and  Fr John asked PJB to be involved  because of his previous links with the Harrogate Homeless Project.


The proposal to allow the Centre to be used one evening a week for a couple of hours was discussed.  There are clearly issues to be addressed, but the Council, encouraged by Mgr D., agreed that this is something that should be allowed.  PJB will take forward with Corrina and Centre Administrator, and will keep Fr John informed of progress.  The centre is not available on Friday evenings (Corrina’s proposal) until 11 April.  If any Council members were available to help on this initiative it would be appreciated.  (Kevin McNerney in his apology email indicated that he would wish to help if he could.).

b.   Parish Website  -  PPC Minutes posted.  Should the Mission Statement be added?  A copy of the document has been emailed to Fr John (Webmaster!).

c. Sanctuary:  Mgr D./ PP advised that 6 large ‘candles’ would be shortly installed on the plinths at the back of the altar.  They will be oil-filled, not wax, and sponsorship of each candle will be sought for the provision of a year’s supply of oil.  The first candle will be dedicated to the memory of Joe Buck, RIP.  The cost of sponsoring a candle will be in the order of £50 to £100.  The level of sponsorship should reflect the opportunity rather than the cost of the oil to fill the candle.

d.  Fr John mentioned that CCTV was currently being considered for the church and the outside areas adjacent to the presbytery.  It will not be intrusive for worshippers, but given various incidents, (including the removal of lead from the flat roof to the left of the presbytery door,) and occasionally the personal safety of individuals, it was felt that the deterrent of CCTV would be worth it.

e. Cleaning of Church walls:  PP will be seeking volunteers to assist with this work during Lent,  (Fridays, 2pm until 5pm).


10.  Meeting closed at 2155hrs with  Prayer.


NEXT MEETING:   6 May 2014, 730pm.

The minutes of the  meeting held on Tuesday 3rd December:


St Robert’s Parish Council Meeting


3rd Decenber, 2013


St Roberts Centre, 7.30 pm


 Present: Msgr. Donal, Deacon John, Andrew Maslaveckas, John Hughes, Anne-Marie Richards, Paula Shanks, Barbara Macaulay, Nimmi D’Cunha, Paul Barry, Kevin McNerney, Francis McAllister.


Apologies: Paul Parker, Kath Plant, Peter Hannon, Tony Barnes


1.   Prayer and Spiritual reflection


Msgr. Donal opened the meeting with prayer invoking the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to come on us in the meeting. Kevin led us in spiritual reflection citing an image of the painting dating to the early 16th century by the Dutch artist Gossaerts depicting the Adoration of the Magi. Kevin had viewed this painting at an exhibition on Christian art at the National Gallery and had been intrigued by the ability of interpreters to deconstruct  the painting. This led into a “deconstruct” of current events in the Church especially comments on the recent resignation of Pope Benedict and the recent exhortation of Pope Francis.

Action: Nimmi volunteered to lead the next meeting reflection


2.   Minutes of last meeting


Minutes of the last meeting in September were agreed and were discussed further.


Paul Barry advised that the drive for increases in parish weekly and planned giving had been partially successful. However it was felt in view of the small numbers in new planned giving subscriptions ( 9 standing orders and a few increases in current standing orders) a further “exhortation” should be reprised in January. The Parish’s generosity in recent weeks with regard to the fundraising for the Philippines relief effort, Youth ministry and SVP was noted. It was also agreed that following release of the yearly financials in April 2014, a further communication at all Masses would be planned by the subgroup comprising Francis, Kevin and Paul B. Action: Finance subgroup


Deacon John advised that the 3 year contract for Joy O’Brien, our Youth Minister, had been completed.


Msgr. Donal reported that refurbishment of the middle flat was progressing satsisfactorily.


Msgr. also reported that the sanctuary improvements had been largely completed and had received very favourable reviews. Paul Parker’s herculean efforts, despite health issues, were commended as well as the significant support of the architect, David and John Tevlin’s great design and engineering skills.


The Catholic Club contract with Catholic Care had been completed with planning permission being sought with likely approval in January 2014. The Club is seeking to increase its membership primarily by attracting St Robert’s parishioners.


Kate Rutherford, Chair of the SVP reported by email the clothing bank to be sited in the St Robert’s car park would be installed in the next few weeks. Kate also advised that the SVP collection over the prior weekend was in excess of £5,500 at this point.


Andy thanked all who gave their support to the successful St Robert’s Patronal Day.


Anne-Marie has arranged for the PPC group photographs to be posted in St. Robert’s atrium. It was requested that the same be posted at St John Fisher. Msgr. requested that the Mission Statement also be posted.

Actions: Anne-Marie and Andy


The current meeting minutes and future minutes will be posted to the Parish website. Action: Andy to Deacon John


3.   Elections


Monsignor advised that Andy had requested to stand down from the Chair of the PPC. No new Chair was appointed at the meeting but Msgr. asked that all current members consider their positions in time for the next meeting in February and to make proposals to him in the interim. Paul Barry volunteered to remain as Vice-Chair and to take on the vacant Secretary position. All in attendance were grateful to Paul for his continued service to the PPC.

Monsignor asked for some feedback on the current shortcomings of the PPC. John Hughes noted that there had been a lack of “spiritual” program in the meeting agenda and in the activities of the PPC and that the content was almost all “business”.

Some discussion centred on “engaging the youth” in varying the liturgy to better stimulate this age group. Monsignor signalled that he had some ideas in this direction. Barbara raised the disjointed state of the Eucharistic ministry and was charged by the meeting to discuss with Paul Parker how we can best progress this vital Ministry in particular focused on the sick and housebound. Barbara will report to us before the next meeting on her discussions with Paul P. and next steps.

 Action: Barbara and Paul P.

A discussion on the role and planning of the Liturgy ensued. A separate group had been formed by Andy in 2011. The last meeting was in October 2012 and had been subsequently disbanded due to low member turnout (including absence of the clergy). Monsignor requested that a new Liturgy Committee be started. (Minutes of the last meeting October 15, 2012 are attached)

Action: Andy to discuss with the Clergy on the restart of this initiative


4.   Monsignor’s agenda items


Following a question raised by Barbara, Msgr. advised the PPC of the new survey announced by the Synod of Bishops to be conducted by all Parishes globally on the topic of marriage and family life. While there was a short-term target date for completion, Msgr. had delayed the issuance because of the sense that the original survey was complex and obtuse. He advised that a revised, shortened and coherent version now existed and would be circulated very shortly (perhaps as early as this coming weekend)

Action: Msgr.


Msgr. wished to have the PPC consider moving the current 11.30 Sunday Mass to 11.00. The members considered that a vote of the Parish be taken early in the New Year with expectations that if a reasonable preponderance of the votes were in favour of the move then it should be carried.


Action: Msgr.


Deacon John’s ordination


Deacon John’s ordination is planned to take place in St. Ann’s Cathedral in Leeds on Saturday December 7 at 12 noon. All PPC members were cordially invited to attend this significant and very unique event for our Parish.


Closing Prayer – Deacon John concluded the meeting with prayer. Meeting concluded at 9.30pm


Next meeting date:

Tuesday, February 25, 2013 at 7.30 in the Parish Centre

































Altar Servers

Paul P

Journey In Faith (RCIA)


Baptism Preparation


Knights of St. Columba






Brownies & Guides


Marriage Preparation




Mothers Prayers



Paul B



Catholic Club


Parent & Toddler Group


Catholic Womens league


Parish Lunch


Carers Support


Parish 200 Club

Paul B



Polish Community


Confirmation Preparation


Praying the Gospels


Children’s Liturgy Group




Christian Unity/Churches Together


Rosary Group


Church Cleaners



Paul P



St John Fisher School


Deanery Liaison




Divine Office


St Robert’s Parish Centre

Paul B

Eucharistic Ministers

Paul P.

St Robert’s C of E Pannal


First Sacraments Preparation




Flower Arrangers


Walking Group


Harrogate Hospital Chaplaincy


Youth Ministry