Celebrating with our neighbours

One of the many benefits of having the CAFOD Volunteer Centre at the McGuinness Centre in Roman Catholic Diocese of Nottingham is being able to pop next door to the Convent Chapel for weekday Mass. This morning we celebrated the Dedication and Consecration of the parish church of #OurLadyofPerpetualSuccour in Bulwell on this day in 1961.c255b4_Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Fr John wore vestments made by the Sisters of the #PoorClare community at that time. We received communion from the Chalice given to Fr Short (the PP) by his parents for his ordination in 1917. Finally Fr Anthony enthralled us with the history of the building of the church and also shared beautiful words from St Augustine about the dedication of a church – (Sermon 336,1,6: PL 38 [edit. 1861]. 1471-1472, 1475)

downloadAs the skill of construction joins together bricks, mortar and carpentry to create a place of worship and sanctuary, so are we who use it to be joined together. Whether it be the parish, the town, the diocese, our universal church.
“The work we see complete in this building is physical; it should find its spiritual counterpart in your hearts. We see here the finished product of stone and wood; so too your lives should reveal the handiwork of God’s grace.”

And so it calls to mind the work of CAFOD, founded and sustained and supported by the Catholic Community of England & Wales, living out its mission to bring about the Kingdom of God.

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A very blessed start to the day.

And a reminder that we can increase the work we do by taking advantage of the few days left to double our donations!  The UK Government will double donations up to and including May 12 – £5million!  UK_aid_logo

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Meeting Parish Volunteers in Clay Cross

Another lovely day for a drive to the northern border of our Diocese where it connects with Hallam.  I was travelling to meet the CAFOD parish volunteers for Alfreton and Clay Cross.  We were meeting for the first time and where better than St Patrick & St Bridget’s in Clay Cross for 10am Mass.  I arrived early so joined in saying the Rosary.  Close to 30 people were in the congregation so when Fr James Earley arrived to say Mass I asked if I could say a few words at the end and he kindly agreed.

Clay Cross

Two verses of ‘For all the saints’ prepared us for celebrating the feast of St Mark and after the welcome, Fr James invited us to sing again, this time to Harold, who was celebrating his 90th Birthday!  Sadly, his wife Betty is unwell and in a care home; so please remember them both in your prayers today.

After communion I was able to say a few words; thanking Fr James for giving me the opportunity to thank him and the parish for their continued and sustained support of CAFOD over many years.  I also reminded people of the story of CAFOD; our founding mothers and how the generosity of the Catholic community in England in Wales led to the creation of the church’s official aid agency in 1962.

After Mass we departed to Eileen’s house for coffee and biscuits and I asked them how they had come to be parish volunteers for CAFOD.  “It was thrust upon me” stated Eileen, “but the community here in Clay Cross are very generous and supportive.  I also get the opportunity to speak at Mass.”  Eileen also told me about introducing the idea of giving money to CAFOD instead of buying cards at Christmas and this has been going on for many years.  For Gloria and Francis, who go to Christ the King in Alfreton, they volunteered about 18 months ago and like Eileen they staple Fast Day envelopes to the newsletter, which are then given out by the welcomers.  Gloria told me “it was me who volunteered but my health hasn’t been very good so my husband Francis helps as well.  He and Peter also speak at Mass.”

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Eileen, Gloria, Francis and Peter

We then talked about our latest campaign, Share the Journey, and how the parish would be able to take part.  Eileen told me the Franciscan Convent, St Clare’s, is the starting point for Stations of the Cross, and approximately a mile away, so perhaps a walk to Mass can be planned from there.  I look forward to hearing about their plans.

UK_aid_logoIt was a real joy to meet and have the opportunity to get to know Eileen, Gloria, Francis and Peter.  Their commitment and dedication not only to CAFOD but to their parish community shone through.  And this Family Fast Day the parish donated an amazing £821.26, which will of course be doubled by UK Government!

Grandma Duty – Attending Stations of the Cross

On Grandma duty today and attended English Martyr’s Primary School in Long Eaton to join staff, students, parents and grandparents for the last day of term and a most beautiful and moving Stations of the Cross.EM stations 1

Mrs Mann informed us that each class had been preparing all week for their ‘station’, each presenting some visual to share.  The children processed into the hall so quietly and prayerfully.  As each Station was announced we reflected on scripture and each class presented their work.

The choir performed  ‘Something inside so strong’ – beautifully and powerfully sung!  Wonderful images were presented for the 4th Station, when Jesus met His mother; the children having written about the qualities of their own mothers.   We ended with the 12th Station, the chaplaincy team placing candles on and around the wooden cross which was placed in the middle of the hall.  EM stations 2

Donate to CAFOD this Lent

A most beautiful service!  Thank you especially to the Chaplaincy Team who led the service and afterwards told me about their CAFOD fundraising activities during Lent; sponsored silence, sponsored run, nail bar!  Their eyes lit up when I reminded them that all their donations would be doubled this Lent, thanks to UK government!

What a creative idea to engage with the Stations of the Cross.  How easy it would be to adapt for a parish setting; different groups in the parish preparing and presenting each Station.

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The Chaplaincy Team