Sunday, December 05, 2010

A Sunday in South London...

... as I went to Mass at Holy Ghost Church, Balham. It's a very big parish, lots of young families, and I knew the Mass might be crowded so I arrived in good time...and it was simply packed, and I was lucky to find a place in a pew, as many people had to stand at the back. Turned out to be the final day of a great Parish Mission, led by the Emmanuel Community which has a Mission Team based in Rome, and the Archbishop was coming to celebrate the Mass and preach.

By a happy piece of Providence, I was joined in the pew by some friends - we suddenly noticed each other as Mass began and hymn-books were opened and so on, and it was so good to be there together!

The music at the Mass was simply superb, and included Mozart's Ave Verum at H. Communion...

Later - while waiting to meet Jamie - I dropped in to the Polish Church on Balham High Road. This is a former Congregational or Methodist church, and has been the Polish RC Church of Christ the King for some years. They evidently keep busy, because there was an afternoon Mass as well as the morning Masses, and families were pouring in...

I remember going to Mass in this church some years back, simply because there was an evening Mass and it happened to be convenient, and at that time there was still a conscious presence of elderly Poles, of the WW11 generation. I remember elderly chaps taking a collection for the veterans of the Armia Krajowa, the heroic Polish resistance group which fought the Nazis in the Warsaw Uporising. Today, the church has a different feel, with a great many families and young children, as a new generation of Poles has found its way to Britain. And the building has become more Polish: there are now beautiful stained glass windows, with the Ven. John Paul 11, of course, among those depicted, along with Bl. Faustina, and various other Polish figures, together with St Padre Pio, and St Therese of Lisieux, and more...and there are memorial plaques and so on that show the ongoing reality of parish life over the decades. Pleasingly, they have also retained the old panels and memorials from the church's earlier use, so as not to dishonour the Christian men and women who worshipped here long ago...

BTW, at Holy Ghost Balham, there is a big youth gathering for the New Year: info here. Pass it on.

2 comments:

Apostolate of the Laity said...

Thanks for sharing. BTW, it's *St*. Faustina, as of 30th April 2000.

Manny said...

Wow, it sounds like you have a vibrant Catholic community by you Joanna. Unless it's Easter or Christmas, I hardly ever see standing room only. And afternoon mass - superb! Send some of that holy water over this way. :-)