Sunday, January 06, 2013

London: gay Catholics welcome move to Farm Street

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 disabled people.

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

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