Sunday, December 11, 2011


...with prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, carols on the church porch, friendship, and a glorious procession through the streets...that was how Gaudete Sunday was spent at St Patrick's, Soho Square. Things began on Friday evening when the Mission Team gathered with friends and supporters at the church of Notre Dame de France in Leicester Square - prayer, singing, an inspiring and challenging talk from Father Stephen Wang from Allen Hall. Then there was street evangelisation all through Saturday - and today when I arrived at St Patrick's things were busy as delightful young Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, plus young members of the SPES team, plus other enthusiasts, gathered for prayer and action. The climax was the International Mass in the evening, followed by a great procession through Soho - we had Chinese, Brazilians,French, and British people all singing hymns, a statue of Mary carried aloft by some sturdy young men,clergy in vestments, a Cross-bearer surrounded by altar servers and we walked and people gawped, teams of young people handed them little gift-bags, each containing a Scripture verse, a medal, and some sweets.We walked from St Patrick's to Notre Dame de France, where we had some more splendid singing, and prayers, and a blessing. By then rain was falling, and by the time things were over and the statue had to go back to St P's it was torrential - undeterred, the mission team walked steadily back, saying the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, water hurtling down from the heavens. All of us were soaked, but joyous, and for me the best moment of Advent 2011 was standing together at St Patrick's as Father Alexander led us in the final prayer and blessed us. An unforgettable day.

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