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Gazette >

Light for the Pope

THEY ARE taking a miner’s lamp to give to the Pope, together with a petition signed by thousands (“it should be hundreds of thousands”) “as a sign from the common people of God’s desire for unity in line with Christ’s own mission”.

This is the latest idea from Grimethorpe in Wakefield diocese, and its Vicar, the Revd Peter Needham SSC (pictured), to raise enthusi-asm and money for the near-derelict church of St Luke which Fr Needham inherited with its tiny congregation of ten. (He started the fund by raising £12,000 when he walked barefoot from Grimethorpe to York).

 His regular congregation in the ex-mining village is now 70, “with an average of 15 communicants a day”. Nine of them are going in the minibus, including a couple of nurses, four drivers (including Fr Needham), and three non-church people. Some of them have never been abroad before.

It will be a strenuous drive through Luxembourg, Zurich, Venice, Padua, and Assisi to Rome, and Geneva on the way back. In Padua they will visit the recently verified remains of St Luke in the Abbey of St Justina, and will give another miner’s lamp to the Bishop. In Rome, they will meet Bishop John Flack at the Anglican Centre before going to see the Pope. It will take two full weeks, and they are hoping to raise £100,000 towards their target of £1.5 million.

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