Fr Keith Herrera
St Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, Scotland
It was an absolute joy to interview Fr Keith Herrera, Cathedral Administrator of St Mary’s Cathedral in Aberdeen, Scotland. He is filled with so much excitement and enthusiasm for the renewal of his parish which was a delight to witness.
Tell us about your parish
St Mary’s Cathedral has 1600 people, on average, attending our weekend masses. It is different to the parishes that I have been a priest at before because it is so large and so it takes much more time and intentionality to build community. It is also very multicultural and more than half the parishioners are Polish. We are a new member of the Divine Renovation Network as we just joined in mid-February 2018.
What is the current climate of the Scottish Catholic church?
It really depends where you are in Scotland as each diocese is doing things very differently. Here in Aberdeen it is quite positive. The amount of people attending mass has remained the same or grown, I think mostly due to immigration. I also believe that there is a change happening in the way the church feels about itself. People are starting to regain their pride of being Catholic as there has been some new bishops, new initiatives and the diocese is doing a lot for youth. However, in a lot of other places in Scotland, nothing much has changed and the maintenance culture is still firmly in place.
Why did you decide to join the Divine Renovation Network?
I decided to join because I read Divine Renovation and had attended several conferences but I tried to put things into place on my own and it did not go so well. So after chatting with Father James Mackay, who is in the Divine Renovation Network, and hearing about how useful and amazing the coaching is in the network, I thought “That’s what I need!” I need somebody to come alongside me and help me as I know that I cannot do this by myself. Making changes in the cathedral is a major task and I need other people to help. I want the cathedral to come to life.
How did you get your bishop’s approval to join the Divine Renovation Network?
The clergy at the cathedral would read documents and books together with the bishop and one of these books was Divine Renovation. So he was very aware of Divine Renovation. I said to the bishop that I would really like to join the Divine Renovation Network and make changes but there would be no point unless I am there for a significant amount of time. He was open to that so we joined the network.
What are your hopes for working with Divine Renovation?
I hope for the full and total transformation of the parish and the parishioners. We have begun to formulate a vision and the current vision is “To form courageous disciples”.