BISHOP PRAISES VIBRANT
Bishop Philip praised the Parish of Our Lady of Abingdon and St. Edmund as a "vibrant Christian community with real energy and enthusiasm” following his pastoral visitation in February. Taking time out from the
packed programme of his canonical visit to meet representatives from the parish, he received an update on the dynamic activities of service and mission underway.
A key focus of the day was the Bishop’s five-yearly inspection of the Eucharistic ministry, administration and pastoral service within the parish – all required under Canon Law. Bishop Philip also preached to three packed Masses and a special Adoration was held at 5pm. “After the morning masses we had coffee in the parish centre and Bishop Philip spoke to a post-confirmation group of young people,” said Father Jamie McGrath who along with Father Rob Stewart hosted the visitation.
“Later he asked to meet a representative group of about 10 parishioners including the head teachers of both Catholic schools in the parish. Bishop Philip is very keen on the schools and the parish sharing the Church’s mission.” Parish groups meeting at church or in people’s homes include Charismatic Prayer Meeting, Support for the Homeless, a baby and toddler group, a Wednesday “cake and conversation” session, Called and Gifted, Pre-Discipleship, ecumenical activities and Justice and Peace.
There are two Alpha groups in the parish, based on hospitality, sharing and conversation leading to an exploration of Christian faith around a personal relationship with Jesus.
At St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School pupils have been inspired by the local Saint Vincent de Paul Conference to become young members of the charity. The Mini Vinnies have raised money themselves, or collaborated in fundraising ventures to support the Mary’s Meals Backpack Project, the Dar Mariam Salesian School in Sudan, Helen and Douglas House and CAFOD.
In a collaborative project for the Caritas “Dragon’s Den” competition, the Mini Vinnies joined students from Our Lady’s Abingdon to create an enormous “Heart of Light” which raised more than £6,000 to be shared between two charities selected by the young people. The youngsters have also made Christmas cards for the homeless and created Stations of the Cross frames at their school to be used during Lenten celebrations.
Pupils at Our Lady’s Abingdon junior and senior schools have been prolific in raising money for charities including Food Bank for Harvest, Helen and Douglas House and the Cats’ Protection League.
Year 7s raised £171 for Macmillan Cancer Support and their cake sale proceeds went to Be Free Young Carers while the Lower School disco raised £1,338 for Uganda. The Year 10s raised £300 by collecting old textiles for recycling for Stem4 teenage mental health charity.
The Our Lady’s Abingdon sewing bee consists of groups of parents, teachers and pupils who have made shorts and dresses for the children in schools in Uganda.
The 'Heart of Light' at Our Lady's Abingdon