Mission works

21 November 2007

by Margaret Duggan

AN OLD-FASHIONED Catholic mission still works, says the Revd Paul Williamson, Priest-in-Charge of St George’s, Hanworth, in London diocese.

The parish (with the agreement of Hounslow Council) was hung with six-foot banners displaying the church’s logo and times of services. Mr Williamson, however, believes that it was “the visual impact of two monks and three nuns” in their habits that caught people’s attention.

The religious were all from different orders, and they stayed for a week in the parish’s newly furbished mission house. They came together for breakfast each morning after mass, in a small room at the back of the church (left). The group visited six schools to talk about religion and the religious life, and Christ and his Church. There were tea parties for small groups, meals in pubs, and personal counselling.

Mr Williamson tells me that he had hoped to have a team from a theological college for door-to-door visiting, but no college could spare the students. Even so, 12 people signed up for confirmation, and “for seven Sundays running, ever since the week of the mission, the church has been full for high mass.” The congregation has more than doubled to 130-140.

Pontifical masses were held at the beginning and end of the mission week, celebrated by Bishop Edwin Barnes and the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Revd John Broadhurst.

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