After almost 130 years, the Jesuits are to withdraw from running one of their landmark parishes as the order undertakes a review of all its apostolic work in Britain.
The British Province of the Society of Jesus has announced that it
will hand over Sacred Heart in Wimbledon, south west London, one of
Britain's largest parishes with thousands attending Mass each week, to
the Archdiocese of Southwark.
In a letter to parishioners, Fr Dermot Preston SJ, the provincial,
delivered the "very sad news" and said the decision had been taken
because of the declining number of Jesuits.
There are currently four
serving the parish.
Fr Preston pointed out in his letter that there
were now fewer than 200 British Jesuits compared with almost 1,000 in
the early 1960s.
He added that the Jesuits "will need to hand over a number of our
present commitments to other ministers" in the future and that Sacred
Heart is our "strongest and most mature parish".