Maggie Mairura – Community Participation Coordinator – CAFOD Nottingham
This Harvest Fast Day weekend I visited the parishes in Spalding and Holbeach. Though only 64 miles away from Long Eaton, the journey took 1hr 40mins to reach the Immaculate Conception & St Norbert’s in Spalding for the first Mass at 4.30pm. I was warmly welcomed by Fr Jim Burke and soon after Mass finished, headed east on the A151 to Holbeach to the parish of Holy Trinity and Fr Paul Lloyd.
The following day Masses were at 8, 9.30 and 11am. So I became familiar with that little stretch of road and saw something for the very first time – a field of pumpkins!!! And as much as I wanted to stop to take a photo I didn’t have time! They looked so alien as if they had just dropped down from the sky, orange blobs in a field of rich, brown soil. When I mentioned this at the 11am Mass in Spalding I was informed afterwards that this coming weekend the Pumpkin Festival will take place. On the return journey home I drove through Corby Glen where the annual Sheep Fair was taking place – with real sheep! (unlike Nottingham’s Goose Fair!)
Travelling around the Diocese, it is a real privilege to have the opportunity to meet the many different communities, rural and urban, farming and commercial, using motorways and country lanes. And whilst they are all different we hold that common thread – our faith and being members of the Catholic Church. This is something I have felt very strongly during my own travels and most recently visiting CAFODs partners in the Philippines. That whilst we meet and worship together in our own local communities, we are called to the simple and yet profound duty to love our neighbour, both near and far.
Fr Jim was telling me about some of the ways they strive to do this in Spalding. Having recently installed a webcam in the church, parishioners are able to be part of the Sunday celebration, and family members from abroad have been able to connect for sacramental and family celebrations. Being in a farming area, the parish has welcomed new neighbours from many Eastern European countries and at Easter over 5000 people attended the services!
The two parishes and St Norbert’s Primary School are very generous supporters of CAFOD both at Fast Days and in responding to emergencies. It was a real pleasure to be able to feedback on the difference their support makes, inform them of our campaigning
and liturgical resources and, most importantly, to say THANK YOU!