Golden Jubilee message from Fr. Pat

GOLDEN JUBILEE OF THE ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD

As one of this year's Jubilarians I was invited to Wonersh Seminary for St John's Day. It was a very happy occasion for me. Fr Geoff Cridland and myself were the two Golden Jubilarians from Southwark. I felt this was generous of the seminary and very satisfactory for the Jubilee celebrations. Following the celebration at the seminary another surprise was waiting for me. I was expected to visit the Presbytery of St Anselm's and on arrival I found clergy and deacons of the deanery and the Focolari sitting down for a meal to celebrate my Golden Jubilee. Many thanks to Fr Stephen whose idea it was.

The biggest surprise was to follow. Yesterday I was asked to be around for six o'clock Mass. When the time drew near I was informed that there was going to be a celebration in my honour. The Archbishop arrived and other clergy too. The Church was filled to capacity. Just before the procession to my surprise my niece arrived from Malta to take part in the celebration. We reached the altar and turned to face the congregation I saw my brother and his wife in the front pew and some Austrian friends who came for the celebration all unbeknownst to me. Once the thanksgiving Mass was over we all went to the Parish Centre. Many who attended the Mass assembled in the hall for refreshments. Once more the unbridled generosity of our Parish was there to be seen. Here I would like to thank most heartily everyone who contributed towards this happy occasion. It was nice to see faces from the past stretching nearly five decades. I would like to acknowledge every generous gift and above all that of your prayers. Your gifts were many and truly generous. We have a lot to thank God for as a Parish. May God Bless you.

On reflection I had to ask myself who trained the Parish and friends in the art of secrecy. A well kept secret! The Spiritual aspect of the evening with Archbishop Peter Smith presiding together with other clergy and St Anselm's School Choir. The atmosphere in the Church was delightful and wholesome. It is very hard to thank everyone individually who was concerned in this Sacred conspiracy. What a delightful evening. Everything worked to perfection. The amount of work that has gone on behind the scenes is quite a feat of endurance.

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