Getting to know Fr Lim and his Parish

Each month we will visit another parish in the diocese, reporting back with stories of good news and inspiration.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Each month we will visit another parish in the diocese, reporting back with stories of good news and inspiration. This month, we chatted with Fr Lim Gamsi, the youngest priest of our diocese, to find out about him, and what is happening in his parish of St Mary and St Augustine Webster, North Lincolnshire.

Hi Fr Lim, can you tell us a little about what has been happening in your parish recently?

We have recently run the Alpha course in the parish for a group of around 12 pilot volunteers. We’ve all found it extremely fruitful. What I have appreciated most is being able to sit down and hear the parishioners speak openly about their faith. It reminded me of how when I studied to be a priest, we seminarians did not normally sit down to talk about our personal faith or vocation stories; we often did it in response to questions from visitors. Alpha has been that catalyst for us in the parish to share our faith with each other and we look forward to opening the course up to the whole parish in September as a tool for evangelisation.  

We are also lucky in the parish to have many young people. There is a Youth Group which meets on most Friday evenings. Some of the older boys in the group take part in the football games we organise in the local leisure centre every few months, and their parents too. There is also a Young Adults group. This is focused on catechesis and filling in gaps of knowledge which the young adults wish they had received earlier.  

That’s great, it sounds very dynamic! What have been the greatest challenges and how have you addressed them?

The main challenge since I arrived last Spring has been to continue to help the parish rebuild from the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. Like many parishes, our Mass attendance dropped, and some volunteers and parish staff stepped down. So in the past year we have appealed several times for more volunteers, especially to take part in our new initiatives, and we have hired a new secretary too.  

What words of encouragement would you give to another parish facing similar issues?

I would tell priests to trust in the generosity of the parishioners since I have been surprised at how much people have given of themselves. To parishioners I would say trust in God’s generosity for you. I have often more-than-gently nudged parishioners to volunteer in one role or another, and while some were reluctant at first, they have found it fulfilling to serve the wider parish.  

Has there been any specific support that has helped you or your parish?

I started studying to be a priest right after my A-Levels, so the first job interview I was part of was when I was hiring a new employee for the parish. Hence, I found it very helpful that the Curia was able to guide me in that. The Communications Department gave me the template we now use for our parish newsletter, and others from the Curia have helped with less visible issues such as emails, data protection and safeguarding.  

What are your hopes and next steps for the future?

We hope to continue building up the parish and creating more opportunities for people to be able to participate in the life of the parish, and to strengthen their faith too. After we launch Alpha in September, we hope to create some prayer groups in the parish to help people make prayer more a part of their daily lives.  

How do you most enjoy living out your priestly ministry in parish life?

I am grateful for having the opportunity of being able to make a difference, however small, in the lives of so many people. It still humbles me how much we are trusted and even relied upon to enter prisons, hospitals, care homes, schools, private homes, and even ships and boats because of the difference people of faith believe we can make.  

And finally, how long have you been a priest? How long have you been in this parish? What would you say to someone considering their priestly vocation?

I have been a priest for three and a half years now, and I have spent just over a year in my current parish. To someone considering a priestly vocation, I would say the most important thing is not to be afraid, but to speak to your parish priest about it. And do not underestimate how God could use you to make a difference in others’ lives one day.  

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