The Feast of All Saints on 1st November 2007 saw the creation of a new Parish in the Diocese. In a lively and colourful Mass Archbishop Smith ‘suppressed’ the six Parishes of Saint Anne, Saint Basil and Saint Gwladys, Saint David, Saint David Lewis, Saint Mary and Saint Michael in the west of Newport and ‘erected’ one new Parish, the Parish of ‘All Saints, Newport’.
The New Parish has six Churches, or Communities, served by a Pastoral Team of four priests, five religious sisters, and a deacon. At the start of the celebration the Bishop ‘missioned’ them to lead the Parish in new ways of ministry, life, and growth. This vision was given flesh in the entry procession led by sixty children each carrying a stone inscribed with a Saint’s name, to build a cairn of Saints at the foot of the cross while the congregation of over 800 sang the litany of Saints, led by a choir and musicians assembled from the six Communities.
Newport Leisure Centre was transformed by carpets, a calvary and a lectern, Altar and flowers into a warm basilica. After readings by the Mayor of Newport and the Chair of the Churches Together in Newport, and the Beatitudes proclaimed by the Deacon, the Archbishop’s sermon was introduced by the fledging youth group: Discerning the need for greater lay involvement, and for help and training for this, they interrogated the parish priest, who led them to the Bishop to ask for his help. Archbishop Peter, well prepared, answered with a challenge to holiness and prayer, and encouragement to be all saints, alive and active..
After the creed and the prayer of the faithful led by one member from each of the six communities, a dramatic dressing and decorating of the Altar, and a prayerful Eucharist and Communion, the Bishop blessed a thousand wooden Crosses which were distributed among the congregation by the altar server, along with a card with the new Parish prayer and logo. A final rousing rendition of ‘For all the Saints’ closed the liturgy and led the mixed congregations of the six churches through a display of the history of the former Parishes to well-earned refreshments and a chance to meet new friends, renew links with old acquaintances, reminiscence, and look forward to being all Saints – Alive and Active.