25 October 2013, The Tablet

London parish given to Chemin Neuf

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The Archdiocese of Westminster is to hand the running of a prominent parish in north London to a French Catholic community.

Christ the King, in Cockfosters, has been in the hands of the Olivetan Benedictine community for 77 years but due to declining numbers of monks it was announced last year they would withdraw from administering the parish.

Last month the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, wrote to parishioners announcing that Chemin Neuf, a Catholic community with an "ecumenical vocation" which has links with the Archbishop of Canterbury, would take responsibility for the parish. This is the first parish that the community has been given to run in Britain.

Fr Michael Le Piouff, a member of Chemin Neuf, will become the new parish priest and he will be accompanied by a religious sister, a married couple and a seminarian.

Dom Bernard Akoeso, the parish priest, said a majority of parishioners are upset as the change was a "shock to the system." He stressed, however, that Archbishop Nichols had "done very well" to provide a priest for the parish.

Bishop John Arnold, an auxiliary in Westminster who has responsibility for the deanery which includes Cockfosters said, "I have every confidence that he [Fr Le Piouff] will continue the excellent pastoral care of the parishioners while being supported by the Chemin Neuf Community and the parish administrative team."

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