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Friday, 4 December 2009

A inspiring afternoon in Soho

Soho is a part of central London where you find all human life. St Patrick's parish, run by the indefatigable (and surely episcopabile?) Fr Alexander Sherbrooke, is a model city-centre parish reaching out to the homeless, the young, and various people of a wide variety of nationalities, as well as offering witness in the heart of London, in an area that is "poor in spirit".

One excellent initiative is the School of Evangelisation, SPES, which offers a nine month course to form young adults in the Catholic faith. Based in the parish, the people bring hope to the surrounding community, reaching out to people both in the surrounding streets and on their own front door step. There is a dedicated blog for SPES called Hope in the Heart of Soho.

Yesterday afternoon I had the enjoyable task of giving a class to the school. This year, unusually, the class is composed entirely of young women so it is a change from my normal teaching duties which involve me lecturing to classes of young men. (I am sure that my regular students will not take offence if I say that it was a very pleasant change.) My subject was the Church, especially from the point of view of apologetics and evangelisation. The class was nearly two hours but the active engagement of the students and their intelligent questions meant that the time went quickly and I was sorry not to have been able to stay longer (I had to get back for Rosary and Benediction, and my class for non-Catholics.)

I arrived a few minutes early and took the opportunity to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in the Church of St Patrick. I should not have been surprised to find that the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and there was a team of young people at the front in adoration, with others coming and going, including the homeless, who, in London, are always very friendly to Catholic priests - I put this down to the great work done by St Patrick's, Westminster Cathedral and the other parishes in central London.
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