On 19th November Cardinal Vincent visited St Thomas More Church, Swiss Cottage to celebrate Mass in thanksgiving for the 50th anniversary of the church and to bless the new parish hall. Opened in 1938, St Thomas More Church was consecrated in 1977 by Cardinal Basil Hume. Mass was concelebrated by Parish Priest Fr Stefan Hnylycia, Assistant Priest Fr Paul Diaper, Monsignor Nicholas Morrish, Regional Vicar of Opus Dei, previous Parish Priest Fr Gerard Sheehan, and Fr Alexander Master.
The joyful occasion was attended by over 400 parishioners past and present, as well as local MP Tulip Siddiq.
Reflecting on the parable of the talents in the Gospel reading, the Cardinal said: ‘If we don’t use our abilities we lose them. It’s in using our abilities that we flourish… Whatever the talent, we must use it for the benefit of others in our community’. He paid tribute to the Parish Priest, architects, builders and all those who had contributed to the construction of the new church hall.
After Mass, Cardinal Vincent blessed the new church hall and a portrait of St Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei. (The parish was entrusted to the pastoral care of Opus Dei in 2005 by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.) Following the blessing, everyone proceeded to the larger hall of South Hampstead Girls’ School across the road that was able to accommodate all who were present.
On the same day, the Cardinal paid a visit to members of the South Hampstead Synagogue who were observing Mitzvah Day, a day when Jews are particularly encouraged to undertake a work of charity, which this year coincided with the first World Day for the Poor. The Cardinal was met by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the Anglican Bishop of Kensington. He was also delighted to meet a group of young Jewish women as they worked to raise funds and sort donations for the poor.