On Sunday 4 November the Right Rev. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, celebrated Mass at St Charles Borromeo parish church in Ogle Street to mark both the 150th anniversary of the parish church and to bless the new Catechetical Hall in the ongoing excavation of the crypt underneath the church. The Mass was concelebrated by Fr Bryan Jones, parish priest of St Charles Borromeo; Fr Gary Walsh, chaplain to the Albanian community; Fr Peter Harries, who acts as chaplain at University College Hospital and Fr John O’Leary, who is private secretary to the Archbishop.
The Mass was opened by Fr Brian who thanked Archbishop Nichols for coming to celebrate Mass on such an important anniversary in the life of the church. Fr Brian said: “it is always a joy and a bless to have our Archbishop with us, your presence completes the assembly”. Fr Brian also made reference to how it was the anniversary of Cardinal Basil Hume’s visit to St Charles Borromeo parish, on that occasion to bless the baptismal font.
In his homily Archbishop Nichols spoke of the life of St Charles Borromeo, whose feast day was also celebrated on 4 November. He said: “the readings today encourage us to understand more deeply the relationship between ourselves and God.” Following on from the Mass Archbishop Nichols congratulated the parish on the hard work which had gone into building the new hall and led a short blessing of the Catechetical Hall. Archbishop Nichols said: “Here the young will learn of their Catholic faith and adults will deepen their commitment to live as Christ taught us. We pray that the word of God will always echo from these walls”.
After the blessing parishioners spent time with Archbishop Nichols and enjoyed the new space the Catechetical Hall provides. Parishioner Elizabeth Flynn spoke of the Archbishop’s attendance ‘a wonderful affirmation of the work which has been done in the parish’. The Catechetical Hall will be used by the numerous groups who use the church buildings as a place of group discussion, meeting and prayer.