The revival of the official Catholic Directory of England and Wales has been described as “a huge, but completely worthwhile, challenge,” by its editor.
Last published in 2014, the print edition has been a critically important reference work since the late 1700s, when it first began to map the expansion of the Catholic faith across England and Wales.
“At that time the Catholic community was still operating in these islands under quite oppressive and uncertain conditions,” said Joseph Kelly, who has overseen the task of editing the new directory.
“Back in those early days, it must have been very difficult to assemble accurate and detailed information on the whereabouts of clergy, and the extent of worship across England and Wales.
“The print edition has only been dormant since 2014, and it was a similar challenge to reconnect with the countless groups and communities that make up the Church today,” said Mr Kelly.
Work on updating the information began in February this year, and the new directory has only just gone to press.
“As well as all the changes of personnel and structures that have occurred since 2014, there have been quite a few changes and additions that have required significant thought and consultation – new forms of consecrated life, personal prelatures and new faith communities, for instance,” said Mr Kelly.
“There was also some vigorous discussion on correct titles of address for the permanent diaconate and other groups, which needed to be thought through carefully.
“Asking every diocesan bishop to write an appraisal of the past year in their diocese was also a new concept, but I was very keen to do this.
“I’m delighted everyone took time out to contribute, as it has really brought the directory to life.”
As well as full listings for all England and Wales parishes, including contact information and Mass times, the new directory is in a more modern, easier to read format, and the sections and referencing have been simplified to make it far easier to locate information.
Demand for the new publication has been significant, and anyone who hasn’t yet ordered a copy is advised to do so quickly.
The Official Catholic Directory 2018 costs just £43 incl. p&p, and can be
ordered online at www.thecatholicuniverse.com/shop, by credit card on 0161 908 5301.
Picture: The 2018 Catholic Directory.