...of the new offices of Aid to the Church in Need in Sutton took place yesterday, with a great crowd of friends and supporters from Britain and from other ACN offices abroad, an Archbishop, lots of holy water, a great sense of prayer, the Papal Nuncio, and a general atmosphere of gratitude and enthusiasm.
The British section of this great international charity has flourished under the direction of Neville Kyrke-Smith and his team, and the new office is efficiently organised, with separate sections for the sales of Christmas cards (they have a range of most beautiful designs) and books and other items, the different departments such as accounts, media, publishing, and so on. We prayed specifically for the various groups of people we try to help, including those persecuted for their Catholic Faith in Sudan, China, and other countries.
From the generous gifts of people here in Britain, ACN is able to send help to hard-pressed people living in extremely difficult conditions, struggling with poverty, oppressive Government, war or its aftermath, and more...there are areas in the world where running a Christian orphanage, teaching the Faith, distributing Catholic literature, or simply gathering for Mass, mean risk of imprisonment. It all seems remote from suburban London. But the young team in the Sutton office, working with dedication and care, are part of a crucial link which does untold good.
Archbishop Kevin McDonald, Archbishop of Southwark, led us all in a most beautiful prayer, referring to work, and the fact that Christ Himself worked, daily, as a craftsman, for years. Taking holy water, the Archbishop then carefully blessed all the offices, and all of us - friends and supporters, staff from Sutton Carers who have an office in the same block and had been invited along to join the celebrations, visitors from overseas, volunteers, members of the ACN Board, and Trustees...as he went from room to room, the staff began the Rosary and we all joined in. Afterwards, there was lots of talk and quantities of wine and trays of delicious snacks, and the joy of meeting old friends and chatting away with all sorts of people...
To crown things, by coincidence, that evening ACN's John Pontifex was due to speak at The Keys, the Catholic Writers' Guild. He did a superb job, telling about his recent visit to China, and with a popwer-point presesntation with snippets of film and other items, he was able to bring alive for us the complex problems facing that huge nation, and the life of the Church withion it. A truly fascinating evening, one of the best we've had. We meet, as regular readers of this Blog will know, at St Mary Moorfields in London.,..anyone who writes for a living, whether full-time or part-time, or who works in media or in publishing, or related fields, is eligible to join. Send a Comment to this blog, giving me an email address to which I can reply...
Friday, November 30, 2007
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