Following the news that the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are to be based at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Warwick Street, currently used by London's gay community for a fortnightly Mass and pastoral activities, the 'Soho Masses Pastoral Council have issued the following statement:
Response to Archbishop Vincent Nichol’s invitation to the Soho Masses
to move to the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Farm Street,
London W1K 3AH
Following several weeks of reflection on the benefits and potential
challenges which it represents to our pastoral outreach to the LGBT
Catholic Community on behalf of the Diocese of Westminster, the Soho
Masses Pastoral Council is pleased to accept Archbishop Vincent Nichols’
invitation to transfer our base of activity from the Church of Our Lady
of the Assumption and St Gregory to the Church of the Immaculate
Conception at Farm Street.
We are also very grateful to the Jesuit Community at Farm Street for
the welcome and hospitality they have offered there as well as to the
Provincial and Superior of the Society.
The purpose of the Soho Masses has been, and remains, to encourage
the LGBT Catholic Community to participate fully in the life of the
Church, the diverse body of Christ, through participation in the Mass,
and through shared prayer.
In this we have become victims of our own
success, in terms of the number of people who have joined the
Eucharistic Community of our congregation.
This means that, while the body of the church in Warwick St. is still
adequate to our number, the lack of other facilities in the 18th
Century building has become a limiting factor in organising social and
pastoral activity and prayer, in particular for elderly, infirm or
We therefore look forward with much anticipation to the opportunity
of using the greater space offered by the Church of the Immaculate
Conception, and, since we have kindly been relieved of our
responsibility of organising the Mass, to respond positively to the
Archbishop’s challenge to develop our pastoral work in this “new phase”
of our peripatetic existence.
The Masses at Farm Street will, clearly, continue to be at the heart
of our life in communion, and of our pastoral activity, and we look
forward to participating fully in them. We are sure those priests with
connections to Farm St who have ministered to us at Warwick Street in
the past will make us feel especially welcome.
Our only reservation regarding the transfer of base is that our title
becomes somewhat of a misnomer, in that we shall be in Mayfair, rather
than in Soho. However, given the value of the title Soho Masses we shall
continue to use it.
(Under the new arrangements the community will no longer be
organising separate Masses, but joining the parish 6.25 Evening Mass -
after which there will be pastoral activities - such as retreats, prayer
groups and counselling.)
For further information see: www.sohomasses.com