Welcome to the website of The Immaculate Conception and Saint Norbert.
We have created this website to introduce you to our wonderful and vibrant parish, serving the needs of the Catholic community of Spalding and surrounding villages.
Whether you are a long-time parishioner or a new friend looking for a parish to call ‘home’, I hope this web site welcomes you to a place where you find inspiration and a community of fellow Catholics actively seeking God and working in ministry, service and love.
Enjoy your visit, and do not hesitate to contact us if you wish.
Fr. Jim Burke
Something for us to reflect upon:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
A Brief History of the Catholic Church in Spalding – the first 140 years!
The first Catholic Church in Spalding was built 140 years ago in 1875. This followed the Catholic Emancipation Bill (1829), when the practice of Catholicism had been repressed here in England. Mr. Thomas Arthur Young (1805-1891), Lord of the Manor of Kingerby, near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, and a devout Catholic, approached the Bishop of Nottingham (Bishop Robert Bagshaw) wishing to know where churches were most needed in Lincolnshire to serve the growing Catholic communities in the area; and, Mr. Young took it upon himself to encourage and provide the means for the revival of Catholic communities in South Lincolnshire including Spalding, Gainsborough, Crowle and Grimsby.
The site for the new church, on the corner of St. Thomas’s Street (as it was then called) and Henrietta Street was purchased in 1874, and at the invitation of Mr. Young the Norbertine Order at Tongerloo Abbey in Belgium came to Spalding and South Lincolnshire to serve what was then known as the ‘New Catholic Oratory of the Immaculate Conception and Saint Norbert’ which consisted of the church, school and priory.
It is interesting to note that there was still great resistance in the town to the opening of the new Catholic Church, and certain conditions were made – the beautiful church was almost hidden away and remained that way until the brave decision to build a new church. There is a beautiful story that when the decision to proceed with the new build, the photograph of Mr. Young, thought to be the only photograph of him, fell to the ground!
The decision to build the new church was not taken lightly by the Diocese of Nottingham, the priests or the people. It has to be said that there was opposition to the new plans, but there were so many contributing factors that it was necessary to proceed with the new church complex.
The church, Community Hall and presbytery were blessed by Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP, the ninth Bishop of Nottingham (whom, incidentally, became the ninth Archbishop of Liverpool on the 1st May 2014) on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the 8th December 2004.
Sadly, the Norbertine Fathers left the parish in 2008 and Bishop Malcolm appointed our present Parish Priest, Fr. James Burke, to the parishes of Spalding and Holbeach. More changes were inevitable – Fr. Jim is the first Diocesan priest to serve our community. We like to think that the fine legacy left by the Norbertine Fathers is still very much at the core of our worship and our fellowship. Our parish school, St. Norbert’s, in Tollgate, rightly enjoys a fine reputation in the local and wider community. Our congregation these days comprises of people from many countries. Our Polish community is cared for by the Polish Mission in England and Wales, the present chaplain to the Polish community is Fr. Piotr Redlinski, and he celebrates Mass in Polish on Saturday evening at 6.30pm and on Tuesday evenings at 7.00pm.There is a warm welcome for everyone here at The Immaculate Conception and Saint Norbert’s – but, don’t just take our word for it – if you can, come and experience it for yourself!
Who is Saint Norbert?
Norbert was born in Xanten, near Cologne, in the Rhineland, in 1080, the son of a German count. As a youth, he lived a life of luxury as a courtier, until a riding accident one day left him unconscious. When he recovered, he was a changed man. He then placed himself under the guidance of a Benedictine abbot and became a priest.
Norbert lived in poverty and travelled through Germany preaching repentance. One night in his sleep, he had a vision of a ruined chapel in a forest, and a procession of men coming out of it. Sometime later, he was traveling through the forest of Coucy, when he suddenly came upon the chapel he had seen in his dream. At that place, Norbert founded a new order of men in the church who, like himself, lived in poverty and holiness and called the careless to repentance.
The new church was called Premontre, and the new Order was called, as it is today, the Premonstratensians. Later in life, Norbert was commissioned by the Pope to assist in ruling the German Church. He was made Bishop of Magdeburg, where he died on June 6, 1134 at the age of 54. Saint Norbert was canonised by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.
The Catholic Church
The Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world. It has more than one billion members worldwide – roughly one in every six people is a baptised Catholic.
The Church is a gift from God, founded by Jesus Christ himself. He continues to teach us through His Church. Christ is with us, especially in the sacraments of the Church, and above all in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The Church has a special place in history because it contains the fullness of all the gifts that Christ wants to give to the world.
Catholics are guided by the Pope - the successor of St Peter - who is Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome. Locally, in our dioceses, we are led by the Bishops.