On Laetare Sunday, 6 March 2016, a civic service of thanksgiving was celebrated by Fr Nicholas Schofield at Our Lady of Lourdes and St Michael's Church in Uxbridge.
The service was attended by Cllr George Cooper, Mayor of Hillingdon, along with other civic representatives.
Preaching the homily was Bishop John Wilson who gave 'thanks to Almighty God for our shared and mutually enriching experience of what it means to live together, in both our unity and in our diversity'.
He acknowledged the vocation of those who serve in civic life 'to promote and secure ‘a more habitable world,’ a good and wholesome environment where every person can flourish'.
He said that it was essential to establish 'a culture of solidarity' where 'justice and social charity are interwoven so that no person (whoever they are, whatever their age, or wherever they are from) ever becomes a number or is caricatured as a competitor whose rights and dignity can be ignored'.
He explained that explained that this can be accomplished through a 'dynamic of friendship especially when the accent is on its capacity for compassion, self-sacrifice and mercy'.
He thanked those present for their 'service and commitment to the people and institutions' in the community and encouraged them through these words: 'We need your expertise and vision, your enthusiasm and dedication. We need your friendship.'
The full text of Bishop John's homily can be read here.