Yesterday I was at the absolutely crammed reopening Mass at St Patrick’s church Soho. We were so squished down the side aisles the archbishop could barely get through to bless the church. And what a magnificent transformation it is. It took my breath away yesterday as we walked around it in the afternoon before the Mass. The painters were putting on the finishing touches, and it felt a bit like Holy Saturday – the church was bare – and even more than that, it needed to be reconsecrated. The Liturgy of last night was moving and beautiful. All of the hard work, the prayer and sacrifice, was being crowned and perfected in the Liturgy, where God pours out grace – His own life. For me, it was a beautiful illustration of how salvation history works: grace – the sheer gift of God himself – perfects, ellevates and transforms nature – the hard work and sacrifice we offer. And I felt last night that this was an important event in the history of evangelisation in our little corner of the world.
Here are a few photos of the reopening Mass and church interior, courtesy of Andrew Stuart.
I would really recommend going to have a look at the transformation. St Patrick’s School of Evangelisation relaunches in September – would definitely recommend it for any young person wanting to take a year out for formation, discernment and opportunity to deepen their relationship with God.
This evening George Weigel gave a lecture at St Patrick’s on Pope Benedict and the future of the west. There were many tangents of questions afterwards, but one of them was on the need for a renewed catechetics in this country. One person recounted that his child’s First Communion preparation did not mention the word ‘sacrament’. I think Weigel’s response hit the nail on the head: “preparing for First Communion without mentioning the word ‘sacrament’ is like training for cricket without using the word ‘bat’.” Too true. I pray that leaders – clerical and lay – will open their eyes to the need for a renewed catechesis in this country. There is so much work that needs to be done and not enough people trained well enough to do it. Without a solid catechetical centre, the new evangelisation cannot flourish.