Saturday, June 09, 2007

Soho Square sings Gospel

Tonight a group of us from the parish went over to St Patrick's, Soho Square, to take part in the 'Spirit in the City' festival of prayer and evangelisation. Any of you who have been to that part of London will know that it can be quite a sordid place. There are always a lot of unhappy people about all of them looking for happiness any many thinkings mistakenly that it can be found in a narcotic fix or quick sexual liaison.

Every day the parish priest faces pastoral problems that many of us encounter only occasionally. Every priest has to ask himself how he can best serve the people of his parish. What do they need? How can we provide it? Fr Alexander identified three needs for his transitory and broken flock. The parish needs prayer - so he has established perpetual Adoration. It needs a life-giving view of human sexuality - so he established a centre for Natural Family Planning and organises talks on the Theology of the Body. Finally, it needs to be evangelised and so he started the St Patrick Evangelisation School - SPES - to bring hope to the heart of Soho.

Spirit in the City is part of the annual programme of reaching out to the people who pass through that area each day. It's organised by the local Catholic Churches and organises events in Church and also on the streets. This evening we arrived in time for the Holy Hour led by the Franciscans of the Renewal. After the Holy Hour there was a concert of Gospel Music in the Square. During this young Catholics went round the crowd getting to know the people there, handing out leaflets to those who wanted to know more and inviting them to come back to the Church afterwards for another time of prayer. It was very effective. There were of course a few representatives of the culture of death who complained bitterly that their patch was being invaded, but apart from that everyone enjoyed the music and seemed genuinely grateful that it had been laid on.

Soho Square is a place that is always full of people. The paradox is that it is a very lonely place. Tonight they were offered a focus that brought them together and directed them towards Christ. From what I saw there were very many who were grateful for that opportunity.

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